Pérez Guembe / Architectures of Care.

Architectures of Care. From the Zapotecs to the Cosmos

Author: Elena Pérez Guembe, TU Delft

Supervisor: Klaske Havik, Prof. Dr., TU Delft; Angeliki Sioli, Prof. Dr., TU Delft

Research stage: Early PhD

Category: Extended abstract


This project intends to establish a dialogue of expertise between traditional wisdom and contemporary architecture, to discuss what really entails to practice Architectures of Care today. For this, it studies a group of existing house-workshops of traditional trades from Zapotec communities which constitute identity traits rooted in Mesoamerican traditions. Methodologically, it departs from indigenous premises of comunalidad for on-the-ground fieldwork activities in combination with posthuman critical theory tools for the work of self-critique, with an active engagement through making. The daily making process allows to slowly and tacitly assimilate a vast cultural knowledge embedded in the houses that otherwise could be overlooked due to their seemingly “simple” or sometimes “uninteresting” concrete-block materiality. My point is that learning from the indigenous cosmopraxis which entails strategies to cultivate environmental and community bonds, and elucidate how they take form in the house, can inspire more fair and resilient futures for all.

Keywords: Architectures of Care, comunalidad, Zapotec indigenous cosmopraxis, counter-hegemonic architectural practices, posthuman critical theory, architectural ethnography