El Alto Crucero del Sur, El Alto Visiting School 2018

El Alto

La Paz

Monday 22 July – Sunday 4 August 2019

Portable Cholets

As you walk in the streets of La Paz, you immediately understand that there is a mystic feeling in paceños. There is a practical and a sacred sense in all the things they do: the most ordinary routines can be naturally transformed into unique spiritual happenings. The VS El Alto will persist on questioning notions of identity, folklore and contemporary rituals translated into architecture.

If last year the VS investigated the masks, the costumes and the choreography of an actual Bolivian traditional dance – the Diablada – in the 2019 edition we will craft our own characters, to construct a layered performance, dealing both with popular myths and the urban fabric morphology. Students will thoroughly experience Freddy Mamani's cholets, as built examples of the symbiosis among religion, politics, Pop and popular culture. Their compositional and aesthetic features are indeed grounded into the symbolism of indigenous folkloric dances and textiles: here demons, dragons and angels, together with real-world creatures like bears and owls not only populate the parades, but also dictate the geometrical abstract motifs of the facades and the proportions of ornamental details within the interiors.

We will analyze and absorb El Alto's contaminated visual languages – privileged witnesses of the syncretism between Andean paganism and Catholic instances - to extract design principles and spatial hierarchies, that enable a direct interplay of scale between architecture and the human body.

Indeed, we will record the memories of these identitarian architectural compounds, consciously adopting dysfunctional procedures to track back the symbolic items that inspired them. El Alto's colourful buildings will become again costumes, masked characters with anthropomorphic and animalistic lineaments to dynamically inhabit the streets of La Paz – wearable and portable Cholets.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

Act 1: Sampling (with Patricio Crooker, Photographer)

During the first days we explore El Alto, the highest metropoli in the world, mapping selected cholets and the surrounding markets. Students will search for shooting locations based on their interest and investigation. We will sample precise architectural bits, record symbolic signs and pair them with daily found objects – recovering forgotten myths and looking for meaningful clashes.

Act 2: Crafting (with Mario Sarabia, Ceramist)

The actual translation will then take place: the cholets will be dissected and recomposed into personified miniatures. We will work mainly with clay, understanding its properties and construction techniques. Earthy finishings will be combined with polished components, the masks will be conceived as open interfaces for additions of alternative material fragments.

Act 3: Performing (tbc with Marcos Loayza, Film Director)

The architectural masks will become portable cholets: alive characters inhabited by the students. They will collectively build and record an urban performance, a collection of moments to embody a culturally generated spatial narrative. And, eventually, to represent a constructed accomplishment of another form of Andean syncretism: the physical convergence between architecture and its actors.


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. A CV or a portfolio is not required.

The deadline for applications is: 1st June 2019.

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.


The ceramic Studio -Calle 4 No. 7 Mallasa
Final Exhibition “Cupola de Adobe” - Parque Urbano Central, Roboré, Bolivia


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. Fees do not include flights or accommodation, but accommodation options can be advised. Please ensure this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen at the workshop.


The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates and young professionals. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino (SR7 or later)


Sabrina Morreale is an Architect and Illustrator based between Bangkok and London. She is collaborating with various magazines as Rivista Studio, Cartha Magazine and Elle as illustrator and with the RIBA as curator assistant. Her projects have always been related to the idea of fragmentation, using different media, enhancing the process of how things are made and assembled together. She constantly work with model making experimenting through casting, weaving and different fabrication techniques.

Lorenzo Perri graduated with Honours from the Architectural Association in 2016. He has taught as a consultant for Intermediate 7 and Diploma 8 at the Architectural Association, while participating to several competition with international firms (Amid. Cero9, Elemental). He is the co- founder of the research-based Plakat Platform and architectural practice Ecòl. Obsessed with geometry and aesthetics, precision and expression, before architecture he studied engineering and classical piano.

Lemonot is a design and research platform co-founded by Sabrina Morreale and Lorenzo Perri, who graduated together from the Architectural Association in London. Their work investigates architectural production and its implications on other disciplines. They use Architecture as a methodology to reach different outcomes: from toys to pastry tools, from tattoos to story-telling.

They taught at the AA Summer School since 2016, investigating gifs and kitbashing techniques. They are now Adjunct Professors at INDA International Program in Design and Architecture in Bangkok, Thailand


Programme Heads
Sabrina Morreale
Lorenzo Perri

Programme Tutor
Ronald Grebe Crespo

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads


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Visiting School Prospectus


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