Cal Poly Pomona Students Help Struggling Tijuana Neighborhood

Cal Poly Pomona Students Help Struggling Tijuana Neighborhood
This is a model of one of the kiosks that will be built by students in a Tijuana community.
Wes Bassett, a fourth year architecture student, uses a grinder to shape a metal pipe that will be part of a kiosk.
Six kiosks will be installed to foster communication in the impoverished community of Pedregal.

Just before the holidays, Cal Poly Pomona architecture students and their instructor will help improve an impoverished village in Tijuana.

With no telephones, electricity or paved roads, the Pedregal community has no organized form of communication. Important information, such as community improvement projects, upcoming workshops and means for assistance were posted on scrap plywood or wood posts.

Cal Poly Pomona students have built community information centers for the residents, which they began installing Dec. 2 through Dec. 4. Called Info-Structures, six of the edifices should be completed by the weekend of Dec. 9 and Dec. 10. They will provide a central meeting place for residents as well as a means for sharing important information.

“Architecture is a service profession, so it's important for our students to get out there and get experience working with clients. In this case, they're getting the experience while also helping people who really need it and really appreciate it,” says assistant professor Irma Ramirez, the courses instructor.

Nineteen students from advanced architectural design classes (ARCH 401 and ARCH 406) began working on the project this quarter. They have interviewed their clients, observed cultural trends, provided 20 designs for residents to decide from, and even built six structures. The installations are the final step, consisting of packing the structures (which are both foldable and portable), transporting them, laying foundations and then putting the Info-Structures in place.

While collaborating with the Pedregal community, students also helped 50 community members create mosaic tiles, which will be incorporated into each Info-Structure.

Ramirez and her students are eager to see the Info-Structure completed and a part of the Pedregal community. Aside from making communication easier for the residents, they also hope these InfoStructures become effective parts of the landscape and instill community pride.