Andean Ecologies, Cosmologies, and Fictions
Advanced Research Studio

Andean Ecologies, Cosmologies, and Fictions was a graduate design-research studio at the University of Colorado Denver. The studio looked at ancient and contemporary sites and practices in the Andes, proposing speculative structures that span a few centuries and which work toward ecological remediation. As the longest mountain range in the world, the Andes run along the western edge of South America and extend across seven countries. These mountains’ complex terrains are characterized by their drastic changes in elevation, reaching more than 16,000 feet above sea level and fostering a wide variety of landscapes, ecosystems, and thermal-floor conditions that sustain some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. Andean civilizations date as back as 15,000 BCE, and include many culturally rich groups such as the Chimú peoples, Aymara kingdoms, Timoto-Cuicas, and the Inca Empires. By considering the divergent geologies, ecologies, and knowledge of different Andean structures and peoples, the students proposed projects that varied in scale, program, and temporality, and responded to environmental degradation and climate unrest. These trans-scalar architectures were conceived through drawings, models, videos, performances, and written stories.