Mexico City

'We wanted the construction to be very straightforward since, for many people, this would be their first encounter with technology,' notes Mexico City architect Iv'n Hern'ndez Quintela of his community tech hubs. To create classrooms, information centers, and cafeterias, modular units are inserted into existing community centers. Hern'ndez says the units were inspired by 'cimbras,' the makeshift scaffolding found at local construction sites. For example, two-by-fours form the structure for a classroom's polycarbonate walls (left). Now, 72 of Hern'ndez's computer centers are open around the city, offering classes to all ages for about 15 cents each.

ARCHITECT: Ludens (Iv'n Hern'ndez Quintela and Norma Maldonado).

BUDGET: About $33/square foot.

CONTEXT: The project repurposes existing community centers on Mexico City's densely populated and impoverished fringes.