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Arai, Alberto T.  

Kathryn O’Rourke

(b Mexico City, Mar 29, 1915; d Mexico City, May 25, 1959).

Mexican architect and theorist. He received a degree in architecture at the Escuela Nacional de Arquitectura (ENA) at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (UNAM) in 1940, and studied urbanism at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional in 1941–1942. In 1954 he received a doctorate in Philosophy and Letters at UNAM. Arai built relatively few buildings, but he was one of Mexico’s foremost theorists of architectural modernism. Early in his career he embraced the principles associated with the formally austere, politically engaged architecture that dominated Mexico City in the 1930s; later he became fascinated by the architecture of indigenous Mexico and its lessons for modern architects. Arai’s intellectualism distinguished him from many of his colleagues and his study of history and philosophy shaped his sophisticated writings on architecture, urbanism, and indigenous art.

Arai had a distinguished teaching career with appointments in multiple fields and at several institutions. He was professor of architectural theory at ENA from ...