Tenancingo Square Mediascape Competition

Tenancingo Square Mediascape Competition



Invisible and incomprehensible to most, the issues of modern day slavery are real and widespread. The Polaris Project, a leading organization in the battle against human trafficking, reports nearly 20.9 million victims worldwide fueling an obscene, yet lucrative, multi-billion dollar industry.

​Encompassing both labor and sex, human trafficking denies basic freedoms and degrades life to mere commodification. Traffickers prey on vulnerable populations, employing a multitude of sophisticated strategies to lure or coerce individuals into lives of forced service. An eradication of trafficking demands stringent and absolute global enforcement of human rights. A solution further entails concentrated effort to reform areas where illicit behaviors have become normalized. In source communities, such as Tenancingo Municipality, Mexico, human trafficking has become industry, sustaining both the wealth of its citizens and international networks of illegal human exchange. Positioning itself in such a context, arch out loud seeks to investigate architecture’s capacity to challenge entrenched exploitation.


arch out loud challenges designers to reimagine the town square of Tenancingo, Mexico in response to the prevalent issues of sex trafficking existing in the area. Designers should explore the catalytic potentials of architectural intervention, inciting positive change through the introduction of a transformative mediascape. The proposed conversion should aim to both educate and empower, reforming entrenched behavior. How might a modified square reshape communal mindset and motivation, reconstituting the image of a town where exploitation has become normalized?


Located at Tenancingo’s highest and most central point, the proposed competition site lies adjacent to the church (Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel) and local government office. A prominent intersection within the community, the existing square accommodates a number of temporary programs and events, serving as both a public plaza and marketplace. Relationships within this common area, both tangible and intangible, infer the normalized interactions of the town. The site also hosts the annual carnival, briefly exposing an extensive and sophisticated network of traffickers. The proposed mediascape is intended to be accessible and highly visible, maximizing the site’s ability to enable positive change.