Barranquilla Classroom

Xenia Adjoubei, Alejandro Haiek

10.9685402, -74.7813187

6-17 July 2020

apply: funded EU places

apply: independent

This course is delivered 100% online, applications welcome & some free spaces still available.

Course Plan
Week 1: workshop orientation, virtual immersion in contexts: spatial, geographic, social and economic. Detailed research into designing virtual spaces, community engagement principles, needs, provision and delivery. Lectures by invited experts. Mid-workshop presentation to external critics.

Week 2: detailed analysis of existing and aspirational skills and labour opportunities, detailed design of collective creative practices, detailed design of platform and its integration into physical public spaces. 2 seminars with invited experts.
Culminates in public online presentation and exhibition.

Sol y Sombra | Shadow and Light
Public-economic Space for Migrant Communities in Colombia

The Global Free Unit Classroom in Barranquilla will work to address the social isolation and lack of economic stability experienced by Venezuelan migrants living in Colombia, which leads to long-term social problems. Our tools for creating change are collective design, which involves the community, and creative, participatory construction.
Our research is focused on finding potential, creating virtual infrastructures and supporting opportunities through architectural interventions and networks. We work with the specificity of local resources and local knowledge, our design methodology is based on inclusion and collaboration with local communities.
The proposed projects are designed to improve the physical environment, but we simultaneously design for the context parallel to urbanism: the increasing digitalisation of our lives and the possibilities offered by online platforms.

This workshop is a credit-bearing online research and design workshop, sited in the fast developing South American city of Barranquilla, which is currently experiencing unprecedented migration from neighbouring Venezuela. Around 8% of the city’s population are migrants, the majority living in informal settlements and relying on informal labour markets for their livelihoods. This makes the community very susceptible to economic and medical crises, such as the one we are experiencing globally.
We will map the spatial conditions and analyse existing labour economies with the help of our experts on the ground, and using emerging remote working technologies for architects. We will create an overview of existing relevant technologies and solutions in order to design a system of engagement in collective craft and labour. We will analyse and take inspiration from the existing skills of the community, and design a multi-faceted virtual space which will help formalise their skills and education and provide long-term online-working opportunities.


  • Barranquilla Informal Settlements Informal settlements occupied by Venezuelan refugees in Barranquilla, Colombia
  • Informal settlements occupied by Venezuelan refugees in Barranquilla, Colombia
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