Latin American Architecture: 1929-2012


Spring 2013

Carlos Brillembourg, instructor

Beginning in 1492, America was a source of exchange between European sources as interpreted by priest-architects and Amerindian cultures. During the sixteenth century printed books were used by the priest-architects as sources of architecture for the churches they were building for the King of Spain or Portugal. Edicts given by the King established codes for urbanism and individual buildings were drawn and rendered for approval in Seville or Lisbon. “The Laws of the Indies” established a common language in all the Spanish and Portuguese Colonies from California to Patagonia.

The modern movement in the Americas is both a natural continuity of this process and a fundamental rupture of this tradition. Architecture built using Amerindian or mestizo labor with or without the Islamic building traditions original to Southern Spain, influenced the iconography of the modern movement in Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico. Using contemporary mapping strategies, we created a cultural map of import, exports and influence, counter influence between the cities north, south and east,west. The different patterns of these cultural exchanges were analyzed and their stories were gathered.