On a Friday evening in early January, roughly 50 Tijuana denizens met at the currently established architecture academy, Escuela Libre de Arquitectura, located near the Tijuana red-light district of Zona Norte. They were gathered to hear anthropologist Pablo Landa, curator of the Mexican pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, speak about the focus of the pavilion. Students, architects and members of different local NGO’s took the occasion to dialogue with Landa about the role a city like Tijuana could have within the theme Reporting From the Front set by biennale director Alejandro Aravena.
All the chatter may be around Frank Gehry and the Los Angeles River, but that waterway is not the only channelized river on the West Coast. More than 40 years ago a 10.5-mile long stretch of the Tijuana River was concretized as a flood control channel to make more development possible. If Gehry’s scheme is all about hydrology, a new proposal for the Tijuana River is about electricity.