MEXICO: Material Propositions: Oaxaca
Faculty: Silvia Acosta (RISD Architecture)
3 credits (ARCH-1500-01) | Dates: TBA
Oaxaca City is situated in the mountains midway between Mexico City and the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO in recognition of its historic buildings and archaeological sites. The city's colonial history is intertwined with indigenous cultures that reside along the city edges. It is also the source of a rich contemporary art scene rooted in the current political and social climate of the area. Home to an extensive network of art centers, cultural institutions, and artisanal crafts, the place provides a rich inventory of opportunities for material observation, experimentation, and making.
The primary focus of the studio is to weave together cultural research, material exploration, and full-scale construction to explore the resonance between traditional craft practices and contemporary techniques of design. Students will be exposed to materials based on the vernacular of the area-adobe, stone, brick, lime, bamboo, and locally made encaustic tiles-and introduced to ways in which to translate their properties into new applications and processes of assembly. The goal is to engage participants in the design of a collaborative project while understanding the culture and interests of the community it will serve. These hands-on explorations will be facilitated by community-based partners in the spirit of generating local innovation. The secondary component of the course will provide an opportunity for observation and visual transcription of experience through drawing and other forms of 2-D material work informed by local resources. Fieldwork will be supported by visits to cultural sites, and daily discussions will address the use of materials in design as a force to promote reimagining their applications.
Estimated Travel Cost: $2,080 (includes tuition, accommodation, field trips, local transportation, group dinners + some meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance) – airfare not included.