Architect Tatiana Bilbao will be the first to tell you her projects don't address the urban problems of her native Mexico City. With a population of nearly 20 million, the interrelated issues of housing, transportation, and, perhaps most important, water infrastructure pose significant challenges. "Our generation is getting a lot of opportunity to build large-scale projects with people who are interested in architecture," Bilbao says, "but we are not working with the government on anything."
Bilbao studied the urban realm early in her career when she conducted research for Mexico City's Urban Housing and Development Department. "In Mexico, the production of space is mostly by the people; there is no planning at all," Bilbao says. By 1999, she had grown frustrated with her inability to accomplish anything but research and struck out to form an architecture firm, LCM, with a friend returning from practicing in the Netherlands. Then, in 2004, she formed her own practice, Tatiana Bilbao/mx.a, and with three other architects, set up a separate collaborative urban research studio to continue her interests in urbanism.