Documenting Latin American Architecture


Fall 2012

Galia Solomonoff + Julia Solomonoff, instructors, with Paola Echegaray + Alonso Llosa

The objective of the class was to understand the legacy of Latin American Architecture through a survey of important sites from pre-colombian culture, colonialism, modernism, contemporary buildings and urban settings. The results of this class became the bases of a 54 minute non-commercial film for a broad audience that takes viewers to these sites and offers an explanation of their architectural and cultural importance.

Utilizing Latin American cinema and architectural history as a resource, the class investigated the different periods and landmark achievements of Latin American Architecture, ultimately incorporating this cinematic language and its references into the making of a documentary film.

The class surveyed a select group of sites and buildings seeking understanding of the historic, economic, and aesthetic viewpoint from which they come. The major organizing principles of Latin America: pre-colombian, colonialism, immigration, modernism and current global perspective were discussed, finding connections, commonalities and oppositions throughout the continent. From the-long hidden mysteries of Machu Pichu and the strength of Teotihuacan, to the forts of Cartagena, from the baroque cathedrals of Taxco and Ouro Preto to experimental Modernism in Buenos Aires and Brasilia, to novel contemporary masonry architecture in Uruguay and Paraguay and the preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics, a broad panoply was considered.