Lecture: Princeton Visiting Professor Carola Barrios presenting “Unbuilt Caracas in the Age of Global Architecture”


December 8, 2010

In the mid-twentieth century, Caracas became an ideal testing ground for the production and consumption of global architecture. Its most representative visionary projects were designed by both local and international architects during the 40's and 50's, a time when the ambitious developmental agenda for Caracas would seek to achieve its universal visibility in the display of modern architecture. Despite their impact in the city's imaginary, many of these projects were never built, while other buildings remain unfinished as spectral ruins within its urban fabric. In this allegory of the history of modern Caracas, we examine the boundaries between «material» and «ideal» architecture in the unveiling of the prospective city—an exploratory journey to be guided by the social and urban utopias underlying the un-built city's traces and remnants. This presentation is co-sponsored by the Princeton Program of Latin American Studies.

Carola Barrios received her Ph.D. in Theory and History of Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Spain. She completed her bachelor degree in architecture, as well as a postgraduate degree in Museum Studies from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas. She has dedicated the last twelve years to revaluate Caracas' Modern heritage --in its material and immaterial legacy-- and the achievements of its «heroic modernity» in oblivion. Her doctoral dissertation, Caracas: Modern City and Museum: Incomplete intersections in the cityscape of the 1950/s, studies the relations between Museum and Modern City in the configuration of Caracas' urban landscape, focusing in the dialects between arts, architecture and politics. For the development of her doctoral studies and research activities, she has received grants and fellowships from Venezuela and Spain. In addition to the professional development of architectural design, curatorial exhibitions and research, she collaborates regularly in international journals with articles on modern and contemporary Latin American architecture. During fall semester at Princeton --as a visiting fellow at the Program of Latin American Studies and the School of Architecture-- she is teaching a seminar titled Modern Architecture Goes South: Museum, Mass Media and Pan-Americanism. From a comparative study centered in Venezuela and Brazil, the seminar explores the common influences of MoMA's cultural strategies and the impacts of Mass Media in the dissemination of Modern Architecture to the «South» during post-World War II period. While living in Barcelona since the late 90's, she keeps activities as a professor at the department of History and Critics at the Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo in Caracas, as well as in the organization of conferences, exhibitions and international seminars.

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