Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Civil Engineering at the Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México
José Luis Gutiérrez Brezmes Director, Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Civil Engineering Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México. The complex nature of reality is no longer questioned, and there is an increasing conviction that the solution to our problems is not attainable through the isolated knowledge of individual disciplines. The narrow lanes of specialization have been useful to increase and deepen our knowledge in each field, but their ability to create a positive impact on everyday life demands a panoramic vision and a will to inhabit the borders of an interdisciplinary approach. At the Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Civil Engineering at the Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México we are committed not only to the generation of knowledge, but also to its application and we therefore assume the urgent challenge of contributing to the construction of a new paradigm where social and environmental responsibilities are a central concern and a guarantee of improved living conditions. Our project to achieve this goal is anchored in the integration of architecture, urban studies, and civil engineering programs within a single academic department. This integration is not merely an administrative management solution: it provides us with a space for interdisciplinary synergy, a project which combats anachronistic professional rivalry and ego. One of our main strategies has been to build alliances with civil associations, international organizations and companies which share our principles. An example of this is the operation of three Funded Chairs within our program curricula, sponsored by construction companies: CEMEX, LAFARGE HOLCIM and BOVIS. Our links with NGOs include being funding members of Sustentabilidad para México A.C. SUME -which is the Mexican Council for the World Green Building Council WGBC-, and partners for sustainable construction accreditation systems such as LEED and BREEAM. These connections have allowed us a proximity to reality which is not a limitation but a driver to become more ambitious in our vision. Taking the LEED and BREEAM systems as tools to reduce energy and water consumption in buildings, our vision reaches one step ahead in hand with the International Living Future Institute, promoter of the Living Building Challenge system, which advocates NET POSITIVE ENERGY and NET POSITIVE WATER. It is no longer enough to economize water and energy, it is necessary to begin a regeneration process in which the built environment must produce more energy than it consumes and recycle more water than it uses. We are nevertheless convinced that cultural aspects are determinant and that the mere importation of technology and international systems could even increase local problems, which is the reason why we address issues related to cultural traditions and defend this position in all the venues and events in which we take part. We believe in high technology systems as a complement to local knowledge and passive solutions, not as their replacement. We believe professionals should serve society, and not be served.