El Alto The Gran Poder

This is an archive page for El Alto

Forthcoming dates for this school to be announced.

El Alto

La Paz

Monday 22 January – Sunday 11 February 2018

La Paz, with its extravagant, bustling and chaotic life, creates a fertile ground for cultural assembling. The Visiting Sschool translates ideas of identity, folklore and rituals into an architecture in which a multitude of fragments collide. 

The programme begins with the Alasitas Festival, where we will gather as many ready-made fragments as possible, de-contextualise them in terms of meaning, proportions and materiality and create a radically new artifact. Ending with the Carnaval of Oruro, each individual piece will be assembled and choreographed as part of a collective folkloristic dance.

Using the Andean architecture examples of El Alto as a base, students will have the opportunity to place their elements within an architectural hierarchy. From Freddy Mamani Silvestre, to the study of textiles, to the creation of Mesa de la Challa, a new piece of architecture will be built. 

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

The students will be experimenting with drawings, videos, performances and model making techniques. Starting assembling physical fragments which they will gather in the first week, they will cast and make new artefacts troughout the second week. For the final outcome they will translate their tridimensional models in architectural components.

Portfolio Courses provided : sketching, image manipulation and post production, photography,  digital and physical model making, collective performances and installations.

Workshop Schedule

First Week| 22nd January-29th January Alasitas Fair
Arrival & General Introduction of Visiting School, Brief and Schedule.
In the first week, students will have to create their own narrative, choosing a character of the
Diablada (Bolivian traditional dance) and combining it with their personal cultural background. In the
following days, they will have to visit the Alasitas Festival, collecting fragments and pieces, creating
an iconographic catalogue for the previously constructed narrative. With the fragments they have
selected, they will have to start building their own artifacts through drawings, models, videos etc.
Workplaces: UCB, Graciela Rodo Boulanger’s studio.

Second Week| 30th January-3rd Feburary El Alto
The second week is centered on the discovery of El Alto, analyzing the topography, customs, and
differences with the center of La Paz. There will be two different workshops with the participation
of Mario Sarabia and Freddy Mamani Silvestre. The first days will be dedicated to transform each
narrative into a tridimensional model, then the students will start to edit the different fragments and
translate them into architectural components, following new constraints, but still keeping the original
symbolic meaning.
Workplaces: Mario Sarabia’s studio, Teatro Trono

Third Week| 3rd February- 11th February Oruro
During the third week the students will start to assemble their individual outcomes into a single
architectural project. Each model or set of fragments will be metaphorically treated as a character
of the Diablada, therefore the resulting collective design will be based on its choreography. It will be
possible to see how the costumes and the masks are chosen by the dancers and how the parade is
organized. Following the features of this folkloristic and religious ritual, the architecture will represent
an identitarian assemblage. After the final presentation hosted in a cholet, the students will travel to
Oruro, where they will be able to participate to the Carnival.
Workplaces: Teatro Trono, Cholet Crucero del Sur


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page. If you are not able to make an online application, email  visitingschool@aaschool.ac.uk for instructions to pay by bank transfer. 

2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered to the programme. An image and a text  of your own production are required. They should depict your understanding of cultural assembling.

The deadline for applications is 15 January 2018


The workshop encourages people of different background to apply, including current architecture and art students, phd candidates and young professionals. Places are limited, and offered at the discretion of the El Alto Programme Directors. Please contact elalto@aaschool.ac.uk for further information.


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £860 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.

Fees include tuition and private transportation around the city and to El alto. All museums entrances, workshop setup, materials and tools are provided.

Flights to La Paz, accomodation and meals are not included.

All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required, and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After payment of fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.

All participants are reponsible for their own insurance including travel and health insurance. All participants also need to ensure that any equipment and valuable items such as laptops are covered by their own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen.


UCB Ave 14 de Septiembre 2, La Paz 4807, Bolivia or Fundacion Compa Calle 17-A C. Satélite, El Alto, Bolivia

Programme Heads 

Sabrina Morreale and Lorenzo Perri graduated from the AA in 2016.

Sabrina has worked for a number of architectural practices between London, Italy,
Thailand and Cambodia. She also collaborates with various magazines as
an illustrator and she is an assistant curator at RIBA. 

Lorenzo is a consultant for Inter 7 and Diploma 8 at the AA and he has participated to several competitions with international firms. He is the co-founder of the research-based Plakat Platform and the Architectural
practice Ecòl. http://e-c-o-l.it/


Programme Heads
Sabrina Morreale
Lorenzo Perri

Programme Tutors
Ronald Grebe Crespo
Freddy Mamani Silvestre

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

Links & Downloads

Programme site

Social Media


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Visiting School Prospectus


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