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Carlos Cardenas: Architecture in a city without architects

Taking advantage of self-densification

Architecture in a City Without Architects is the master’s thesis for the Master in Sustainable and Resilient Architecture, in the framework On continuity and Identity, which aims to cooperate with Nepal’s government in the reconstruction process after the devastating earthquakes of 2015 that affected that country. Focusing in Kathmandu’s city since it is the most populated and the most affected by the temblor as well as urban issues, this document presents an analysis with the main goal is to understand the current life’s conditions of this city; economical limitations, social concerns, isolated location and Indochinese mentality. Therefore, a better aproach to local perspective is achieved, questioning some paradigms from western mind. 

Translating this research to architectural and urban matters the investigation focuses on the accelerated and unplannified densification that affects the city specially in the center where oldest and more traditional neighborhoods are located. And, the possible role of architecture on a system grounded in self-construction and non regulations, out of reach of local authorities. Finally the understanding in consideration with architectural potential is apply to an specific case generating a proposal that aims to advocate for incorporate self-construction as economical support in order to add technical expertise that contribute in problems such as supplies lack, city’s ventilation, and gentrification. The specific strategy is the incorporation of high technology applied by bottom-up methods in order to get a passive system of oxygenation that use the current typology of narrow courtyards forced by the densification.