Research

  • The (Other Forms of) Architecture of Memory in Latin America
  • GRANTEE
    Marielsa Castro Vizcarra
    GRANT YEAR
    2018

Lugar de la Memoria la Tolerancia y la Inclusión Social (Place of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion), 2015, Lima, Peru. Photo: Marielsa Castro Vizcarra.

Civil wars, social conflicts, and human rights violations are common denominators in contemporary Latin American history. Consequently, the need to recover from a postwar trauma has become a national concern for this region. The questions of what, why, and how to memorialize the traumatic events are political in nature—particularly in countries where the violence has been the state’s responsibility. Thus, in the last decades public projects dedicated to remembrance have been the outcome of nations peace processes. This research questions the recent institutionalization of sites of memory, and the role of architecture in shaping these spaces. The investigation analyzes ten case studies in five countries: Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Brazil. The selection of the sites varies in form and purpose including: museums, memorials, monuments, public spaces, infrastructure, and a landscape project. It is the aim of this research to understand how each of these different sites are being used as public spaces, to understand who is the public, and to understand what is the role and importance of architecture in building spaces and experiences for peace and reconciliation process.

Marielsa Castro Vizcarra is an architect, curator, and museum educator. She is currently the director of the Educational and Public Program at the Art Museums of the Banco de la República in Bogotá, Colombia a cultural complex composed by three museums: Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia–MAMU, Museo Botero, and Museo Casa Moneda. In 2017 she graduated from a master's in design studies in art, design, and the public domain, at Harvard´s Graduate School of Design (GSD). During 2016 she codirected FortyK, an art student run gallery and after graduation Castro worked with the exhibition department of the GSD. For three years (2012–15), she directed LIGA–Space for Architecture, Mexico City, an independent platform established to promote the exchange of ideas and research of contemporary Latin American architecture through a site-specific exhibition program, leading more than 10 exhibitions and multiple event. Castro has lectured internationally, and she is a published author who has collaborated with different architectural magazines and publications.