Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio

Enlace Foundation is a non-government organization that engages participatory design processes and awareness building cultural programs. It builds on the work of Enlace Arquitectura and the research developed to advance the integration of barrios. CABA: Cartography of the Caracas Barrios 1966–2014, a publication by the organization, maps the evolution of the city’s spontaneous settlement growth over a fifty-year period and represents an important step toward recognizing the barrio as part of the city. Enlace has also built public spaces with communities. A compilation of such significant public space projects in Latin America was published in Pure Space: Expanding the Public Sphere through Public Space Transformations in Latin American Spontaneous Settlements. Their work has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts, the United States Embassy, the Swiss Embassy, the French Embassy in Venezuela, and Across Design. Ciudad Laboratorio is a transdisciplinary team that seeks and promotes the idea of an integrated, sustainable, and safe city— through social, urban, environmental and, economic variables—by creating opportunities for reflection, research, and action. Representing a platform for advocacy and transformation, it is able to enact efforts with schools, communities, public entities, private initiatives, and other social organizations. Since 2018, Enlace Foundation and Ciudad Laboratorio have worked together with the community of the barrio La Palomera in Caracas on the project Integration Process Caracas, which will be presented at the 17th Architecture Biennale in Venice 2021. This project continues beyond the exhibition in the form of the Center for Art and Culture in the Casa de Todos Annex.
Courtesy of Enlace Arquitectura + Cuidad Laboratorio

Microprocesses: A Choreography of Urban Integration

Venue: Graham Foundation

The intertwined histories of the diverse neighborhoods of La Palomera, Colinas de Bello Monte, and El Calvario in Caracas demonstrate the potential for new democratic urban processes. They do so by creating platforms that emerge from, and in favor of, plurality and a mixture of voices. In the gallery, each neighborhood is represented by a modeled stage. The microprocesses, or activities, that occur in each community are projected on these stages and certain groups of people perform across all three scenes, making new connections between the communities. Yellow figures represent culture and traditions. Local culinary flavors are represented in brown. Vibrant greens denote gardening, while dark green signals processes of waste collection. Arts and cultural activities, such as celebrations, including dance and music, are shown in blue; concerts and performances in red; and murals and projections in purple. Each celebration, walk, performance, and construction project is part of a prolonged rehearsal that awakens potential.

The project defines alternative forms of urban production that exist outside the interests of capital, and empower urban sectors deeply rooted in the city but considered lesser, subordinate, or other, such as barrios. Creating connection between these urban spaces requires the expansion of community mental maps—those that typically begin with the familiar and expand through active city exploration help to overcome the city’s fragmentation. Communities engage in an organic process that promotes discovery, recognition, and the creation of networks. They draw—through physical presence and dialogue—over the traces of what already exists. In this way, communities become hybrids—synthesizing local knowledge and borrowed experiences.

Observing an affinity between the distinct community structures that exist in both Caracas and Chicago, this project bridges cross-cultural connections between disparate parts of a city. A video provides additional context for the project broadly and shows scenes from the three sites in Caracas. A map of Chicago is overlayed with a constellation of points in Caracas, encouraging visitors to explore and make connections between neighborhoods they may be unfamiliar with. This opportunity is not unique to Caracas or Chicago but is possible anywhere people move freely and are interested in engaging a comprehensive understanding of their city.

Past Works