Classism at Oberlin College

Mexico City – Museo Rufino Tamayo, Chapultepec park. 

Recent changes include a whitewashed parquet floor made of end grain 2x4 with a larger grid of on-edge 2x4. The coffered ceilings have been painted white. In all the museum’s darker, rawer components have been neutralized in favor of a lighter interior who’s spatial balance is less grounded with a feeling of floating buoyancy.

Mexico City – Center for the Blind

Although called a center for the blind, this walled complex never operated as such. Inaugurated by the mexican government as the above mentioned, the center was closed the next day. No explanation was ever given. The buildings sat empty for years, degrading and failing into disrepair. After nearly a decade sitting empty it reopened as a technology vocational school. 

It is located nearly half a mile from the nearest metro station. Supposedly situated in a community with the highest number of blind, the project sits upon an old trash dump. 

Its blind friendly features are numerous and described well documented by archdaily. Yet these features are no longer present or operating. The textured walls seem worn and imprecise to work as a directive aid. 

A few photos from the project as it exists today.

Above: The Crystal (Michael Lee-Chin), as it is known.  What more can be said about this angular disaster?  

Upon entering one is greeted by constricting planar angles. Leaning inward, they creep upon the psyche. In contrast to the exterior, with its extreme bravado and careless material choices that suck in the unknowing passerby-ers, the interior is underwhelming. Carelessness construction contributes to a overwhelming feeling that the building might topple upon you at any moment. Spots of unfinished drywall, with their telling exposed screws, seem to litter the interior – “was it a hasty construction?”  After five minutes in the ticket line the exterior waining influence is gone. No longer I am fooled. An interesting, possibly even good building is lost.  

With a ticket in one hand and the other quite confused I ran.  Straight forward toward the colossal dinosaur, seemingly the most sensible option at the time.  Here I landed at the nexus of all that is new, old, and very old indeed. The three buildings merge.   Their convocation a looming atrium just behind us. Stage lights dangle and light flying terrible-dactyls (the only well formed space in this crystal, of course it houses our somewhat triangular winged friend so its a quite “natural fit” if you catch my drift).

After a certain amount of hiding in the 1st floor galleries, searching for an alternative to returning to the crystal (and a brief phone chat with your Analyst), you decide to return. Its just a building after all.  Finding the staircase is your first quest.  Accomplished after a few minutes of searching.   

Nearing the staircase you see more of the unfinished dry wall. Upon touching the handrail a cold rush flows through your hand. Looking down you see the drywall has transfigured into rough aluminum plates most likely cut to size with a nail file. Upon awaking from this horrible surprise we find ourselves bathing in the most putrid of light sources, varying shades of fluorescent bulb – orange and green – spilling from gashes in the walls. Any moment now the water beads might begin to hit our foreheads, the interrogator waiting patiently outside.

In the galleries and exhibits we sat; exhausted. Their crystalline tomb caught all the glory, causing headach and many a confused visitor.  

Having lived here for some time, half and hour, my mind began to pulse. My eyes bulged from the strain.  The end was near. I had to escape.  Back into the older buildings I went. The walls righted, the ceiling came flat. Those exhibits past now merely a blur. 

Upon leaving, I discovered the day had become night. The museum’s illusion broken. What was this crystal? Where had I gone. The few photos I found lay dormant on that little memoir stick. They were all I had to remind me of those many hours spent inside this colossal polygonal waste of time.

(The photos above show its concept.  Forms within forms. New and old merging, Their triangular qualities meeting in harmony without the destruction of the old. A perfect meeting. Yet when I look back upon this time I think not of these abstract associations. I feel only my torn-psyche forged by this fine work by Mr. Libeskind.)


  • globally, 77,600,000 girls do not attend school
  • there are 33,000,000 fewer girls than boys in primary education
  • girls with secondary education are 6 times less likely to be married as children
  • a girl with 7 years of schooling in the developing world will have 2.2 fewer children
  • a child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5
  • two thirds of the 775,000,000 illiterate adults, and 63% of illiterate youth, are female
  • literate mothers are twice as likely to immunize their children and send them to school
  • a girl who completes basic education is 3 times less likely to contract HIV
  • a girl earns 20% more as an adult for every additional year of education she receives
  • a nation’s GDP rises an average of 3% when 10% more its girls attend school
  • less than 2% of international development funds are specifically allocated to girls
  • school is not free in over 50 countries

sources from girl rising

photos: (1) malala yousafza before addressing the un; (2) joey l. of a school for the hamar tribe in ethiopia; (3) beawiharta in jakarta of students who risk life crossing a collpased bridge to get to school; (4) muhammed muheisen in pakistan; (5) altaf gadri of an unofficial school run for slum dwellers held under a bridge in new delhi; (6) paula bronstein of burmese refugees in thailand at a school in their refugee camp; (7) noah seelam in hyderabad, india; (8) per anders pettersson, uganda; (9) lana slezic in afghanistan; (10) roberto schmidt in afghanistan, where acid attacks and poisoning of water by the taliban is on the increase at schools for girls

(via an-abundant-thought)