Formalism + Informality in Latin American Architecture


Fall 2012

Alejandro de Castro Mazarro, instructor

When and why did informality become an urban and architectural matter in Latin America? Contemporary architectural projects developed within precarious settlements and overcrowded areas in the continent are often interpreted as epitomes of the Modernist Project’s aim to House the Masses. This seminar explored notions related to the problems of the habitat—such as “inadequate housing”, “sub-standard living” or “slums”—and provided a political and historical background that intersects with dominant narratives of Latin America’s institutional incapacity to solve its “housing problem.” The seminar also characterized mainstream architectural answers to informality provided by international media, questioning the independence of such disciplines vis-à-vis the role of real estate, politics and migration patterns in the physical configuration of cities.