Lucia is an architect and researcher from Mexico City currently based in London. Her work and research centres around social housing, policy, and wellbeing.
Lucia is a research associate at the Laboratory for Design and Machine Learning in the School of Architecture. She is currently a researcher for the project ‘Housing Standardisation: The Architecture of Regulations and Design Standards’ funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Lucia holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Urbanism from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City (2014) and an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) from the Architectural Association School of Architecture (2018) under the FONCA-CONACYT scholarship.
From 2014 to 2016 Lucia worked onsite at Torre Reforma, Mexico City's tallest skyscraper and winner of the International Highrise Award 2018. At Torre Reforma she led the renovation of an early twentieth century house on the ground floor lobby.
Lucia’s work is interested in the socio-spatial challenges cities are facing in relation to housing and the provision of services. She has explored the relationship between collective infrastructure, grassroots movements, and private funding. Her dissertation 'From Arrival City to Permanence: Services and Infrastructure in Tijuana,' explored diverse housing and cultural models to house a constant fluctuating migrant population.
Her current research includes how policies and regulatory frameworks impact the design, quality, and provision of affordable and social housing.
Current and recent projects
UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2022–24
The project will analyse the determinants of housing design standardisation and the architecture produced by regulations and standards. It combines architectural design research and historical analysis to examine housing design. The study explores how spatial, social, and technical reasoning affects the design of housing as well as definitions of design value and quality. It considers both empirical evidence and social norms and expectations. The project compares historical design governance and current housing projects in England, Chile, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and China.
The Home, the Household and Covid-19
Prosit Philosophiae Foundation, 2021
A study of how home use, lived experiences, and future housing expectations changed during the Covid-19 pandemic for London residents. An online survey and in-depth interviews interrogate the use and perception of the quality and design of domestic interiors by occupants and how this has been affected by the pandemic. It also explores how satisfied occupants are with their home and its design, what criteria they use to define well-designed housing, and what their current and future housing expectations are.
The Effects of Migration on Settlements and Urbanisation in Ethiopia and Uganda
QR Global Challenges Research Fund, 2019–2020
In collaboration with the University of Addis Ababa, the project undertook fieldwork in Ethiopia in order to create a preliminary classification of settlements and urban area typologies formed by urban migration. The project further conducted a workshop in Addis Ababa in October 2019 with representatives from IOM, UNHCR, local government agencies, and academics specialised in migration studies and policies to discuss new approaches to conceptualising, analysing, and researching spatial design and planning issues arising from migration.
London Housing: Policy, Regulation, and Typology
Prosit Philosophiae Foundation, 2018-2021
The study of housing acts, reports, manuals, design guidelines, policies, and regulations reveal their collective impact on housing provision and key moments in the formation of the housing market. It highlights significant historical changes in how ‘universal’ housing ideals were implemented. This is analysed in the context of housing in London, which differ in its characteristic from other parts of England.
Prosit Philosophiae Foundation, 2018-ongoing
The Laboratory for Design and Machine Learning has a multi-disciplinary team working on experimental and fundamental research into new methodologies and knowledge needed for emerging design processes at the intersection of machine learning, data processing and visualisation, and legal and developmental frameworks. The lab is currently working on a pilot study to analyse housing interiors and their spatial organisation with the aid of machine learning to generate new insights into housing design and standards.
FONCA-CONACYT scholarship (2016–18)
RKE GCRF Development Fund Application (2019)
‘The Effects of Migration on Settlements and Urbanisation in Ethiopia and Sudan’
UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (2022–24)
‘Housing Standardisation: The Architecture of Regulations and Design Standards’
Awards and grants
Architectural Association (AA), MPhil dissertation distinction, 2018
Scholarship from Mexico’s National Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA) and the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), 2016- 2018
Bachelor’s thesis award of excellence, Mexico City, 2014
Alonso, L., & Jacoby, S. (2022). The impact of housing design and quality on wellbeing: Lived experiences of the home during COVID-19 in London. Cities & Health, ahead-of-print, 1–13.
Jacoby, S. & Alonso, L. (2022) Home Use and Experience during COVID-19 in London: Problems of Housing Quality and Design. Sustainability, 14(9):5355.
Jacoby, S., Arancibia, A. & Alonso, L. (2022). Space standards and housing design: Typological experimentation in England and Chile. The Journal of Architecture, 27(1), 94–126.