Exhibit | Minimum Cost Housing Group: Design for the Global Majority
The Minimum Cost Housing Group (MCHG) was founded in 1971 as a postgraduate program at McGill University’s School of Architecture by Columbian architect and alumnus Alvaro Ortega. Architects and students who joined the program were concerned with global access to adequate housing and ecology issues. This exhibition traces how student thesis work, research papers, technical papers, reports and other types of formal and informational publications were essential outlets for the transmission of the group’s innovative research. This research was wide-ranging, from mitigating the environmental impacts of building materials, and reducing environmental costs of buildings in use, to exploring culturally appropriate, context-specific design norms. These displays also emphasize how, from the 1970s to the 2010s, the MCHG’s changing objectives and research priorities are reflected in the evolving aesthetics of the publications: inspired alternatively by countercultural environmentalism, DIY, photocollages, aerial perspectives, and computational imagery. Photographs, architectural drawings, step-by-step instructions, visual aids, cartoons, and collages are interspersed throughout, offering a visually approachable lens through which to learn about the innovative technological and architectural research of the MCHG.
These collected materials represent archival holdings from the McGill Library’s John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection, including the Alvaro Ortega Fonds, Witold Rybczynski Fonds, and the personal collection of Vikram Bhatt. A more extensive and detailed exhibition will follow in Fall 2023 at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture.
The exhibition is accessible during the opening hours of the McLennan Library Building. See details here: https://www.mcgill.ca/library/services/hours
About the curators
Curators: Vikram Bhatt, Ipek Türeli, Arièle Dionne-Krosnick
Research: Arièle Dionne-Krosnick, Beatriz da Silva Takahashi
Design and Communication: Abigail MacKenzie, Christopher Malouf, Hannah Mansfield Thiessen
Library Consultants: Tellina Liu, Jennifer Garland