Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Margins Exposed La Expresion de la Comuna 13

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posted on 2021-03-15, 21:51 authored by Restrepo Sierra, Mariana

In many countries, slum housing begins with the primary intention to house marginal communities and develop to embody a saturation of culture. From this saturation of culture emerges a new experience of architecture. Things such as visual art appear and directly interact with the architecture’s facades and materiality. Such a site exists in Medellin, Colombia; it is called ‘La Comuna 13’. Here, the architecture is made up of poorly constructed brick houses, most of which are now covered with street art created by the community members. Each one of the murals has been painted in order to record a particular and significant event in this community’s painful and turbulent past. In fact, the community members have created a way to archive their history through an artistic expression manifested as a new layer added onto an architecture.

This research looks to create a framework where the practice of interior architecture can start to respond to such artistic expression. It endeavours to develop a process of re-coding the community generated art in order to create different interior programmes and designs. This thesis proposes that this can be achieved by a close examination of street art and by breaking it down into ideas such as layering, place-identity and memory in order to derive an architecture from it. The process includes the use of various iterative formats. The design of interior architecture has not yet been approached from the perspective of allowing art to be the design driver and form generator. This will produce an interior architecture which not only responds to an artistic and cultural expression but also helps to enable this expression. The iterations form a set a different engagement with society. As such they include an urban provocation, an orchestrated invitation and a discrete retreat.

One may argue that the proposed architecture has a motivation in exposing the recording of the trauma experienced by a community on the margins of a society onto the mainstream cultural space.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Interior Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Interior Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Campays, Philippe