Visiting Scholar Seminar: Mercedes Lucia Velez-White

20th-Century Architecture in Medellín in the Context of Critical Regionalism
Seminar, 29 June 2001

Visiting Scholar Mercedes Lucia Vélez-White presents her research.

Latin America’s theoretical debate on twentieth-century architecture is a framework for understanding the development of modern architectural form and meaning in Medellín and the Antioquenian region. The architecture of this period draws on the principal ideas of the modern movement as developed in the inter-war years in Europe and North America, and does so in some rather original architectural statements.

Identity, appropriation, and cultural and social pertinence are the major theoretical preoccupations of architecture in Latin America. I propose to develop the hypothesis that the modern architecture rupture was smoother in Antioquia than in the rest of Colombia, because it aligned with existing trends. Antioquia is a mountainous region; agriculture is difficult, making life very hard. Because of this, architecture has been regarded as a practical affair, and a regional tradition of simplicity and clarity related to the general idea of modernity.

Mercedes Lucia Vélez-White is Associate Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Columbia at Medellin, where she has taught since 1982. She first studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Columbia at Medellin, before completing studies in the History and Theory of Architecture at the Universidad Nacional of Bogota, and at the Architectural Association in London, with a thesis entitled “Milton Keynes: Challenge to the British City.” She has published her work extensively, both in the popular press, and in scholarly journals and publications.

Mercedes Lucia Vélez-White was a Visiting Scholar at the CCA in 2000-2001.


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