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The initial visit by the Public Design Support team to the Otomi housing complex at Guanajuato 125 was met with skepticism regarding the potential for intervention from the outside. Since the mid 90’s fifty Otomi families have lived in this impressive self-initiated housing project. Much has changed since the complex was first built and variety of social and economic issues have impaired a sense of community among the residents.


After an explanation of our design process a community leader suggested that the community room designated for children could be repainted. The space also had a lot of unused items in it that were simply being cached there, inhibiting further uses of the space. Through a series of discussions, the design team decided to attempt a reactivation of the space for use by the community. A proposal was drawn up to repaint the room based on the suggestions of Otomi children who were given a series of diagrams to color. These diagrams were later examined by the Design team and appropriated into a color scheme. All of the non-furniture items and objects in the room were then transported to Muca Roma as a neutral space where children and others from the Otomi community could sort through everything and decide what to keep and what to throw away. Following the repainting of the room the selected items were returned to the space.


The complete emptying of that space, the repainting and discussion, and subsequent reinstallation of objects and furniture were intended to enable the inhabitants to reconsider the use of that space and to have a better starting point for future conversations about its role in the community.



Otomi Community Space

Community room usage


Otomi Community


Guanajuato, Roma Nte., Mexico


May 2016

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