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Designs For A Vertical City

Anthony Stahl and David Lee’s "barrio de los paracaidistas’:


The architecture within the tower develops over time, creating a dynamic composition of vertical neighborhoods that grow around and into one another. Sub-public and private spaces evolve organically, creating complex urban spaces similar to those of historic Mexico. The meaning of the tower is a living being that breathes in the city and is truly defined by Mexican culture and people.


Published in researchmaterial


  1. This is haunting and beautiful. This team is like a post modern writer, they are not satisfied with just making a city level, instead they challenge the concepts of what it means to even BE a city. Why are we not talking about this shit on a wider scale?

  2. This is totally like a non-ghetto version of the bridge in William Gibson’s “Virtual Light.” I approve. I think Gibson’s version was definitely more punk rock though.

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  4. Antonio Antonio

    This is a very intriguing idea, but I’m afraid they’re romanticizing the idea of a “barrio de paracaidistas”. A barrio of this type is the name given in Mexico to the communities that grow in land that either belongs to somebody (who for some reason hasn’t claimed it) or is abandoned, taken illegally over by the poor and the dispossessed who “fell in there”, like a “paracaidista” (Parachuter in Spanish). Because of their irregular and illegal nature, these barrios have very poor infrastructure, no water, gas and electricity services, suffer of poor hygienic conditions and become breeding grounds for drug-related violence and organized crime. Mexico’s violent drug cartels are born in these places and most young foot soldiers working for the Cartels are recruited from these “barrios de paracaidistas”.

    As I said, great concept, but I dislike the romance. I’m an architect and I live in Mexico and these kind of great ideas usually come from non-Mexicans who have no idea how bad the situation inside those barrios really is. The police do not go there unless strictly necessary; think about them like this: if you go in, you’re never coming out.

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