Territorializations of Dust

On surfing, yoga, and suffocation on the North Pacific coast of Costa Rica. CCA, Canadian Centre for Architecture. July 2022

Double windscreen view of Route 160, Barco Quebrado, March 2022. © Valeria Guzmán Verri


[July 5-9] Resistance: the design of Houses of Parliament in Jamaica 2017-2019. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the Society for Caribbean Studies (UK). Online. Link.

[May 31st] Espaces de la dette : diplomatie, finance et industrie de la construction en Jamaïque. Convened by Luis Mora Rodríguez.Institut d’Études Avancées de Nantes. France. Link

[April 28] Planting Architectures of Debt: Diplomacy, Finance and the Construction Industry in the Caribbean. Paper presented at the 75th Annual International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians. Pittsburgh, United States. Recipient of the 2022 SAH Annual Conference Senior Fellowship. Link.

Emotional Capital and Other Ontologies of the Architect

Menna Agha, architect and researcher, 2021.

Within the Theory of Architecture II course at the School of Architecture of the University of Costa Rica, we were privileged to host Dr. Menna Agha, who examined how the architectural profession is dominated by Euro-Western knowledge systems and considered other ways of space-making, from positions of:

  • displacement
  • incompleteness of the modern project
  • subaltern construction
  • invisibility as an architectural value
  • oral histories and architectures of care

In English with Spanish subtitles / En inglés con subtítulos en español

Menna is an architect and researcher with a Ph.D from the University of Antwerp in Belgium and a Master’s Degree from the Köln International School of Design in Germany. In 2020 she held a Spatial Justice Fellowship at the University of Oregon and currently she is running a Design Workshop at the University of Antwerp on Undercommoning Design.

Link to the text under discussion: Agha, M. “Emotional Capital and Other Ontologies of the Architect.”  Architectural Histories, 8(1), 2020.

Courses Diagram



Article on biodiversity, infrastructural space and Museography in the context of the Biomuseum Project and the expansion of the Panama Canal.


A multidisciplinary discussion questioning nature as infrastructure, as an aesthetic of extinction, as environmental graphics and propaganda.

Invited Scholars
Alessandra Ponte and Laurent Stalder Milieu, Environment, Umwelt


Exhibition video.

Six Visual Conventions
With Emanuel Baizán, Sofía Chaves, Juan Leiva, Daniel Quirós and Jeremy Salazar.

A visual research project on conventions of trailers made by architecture students in their design unit.


A documentation of human and non-human relations: fungi, termites, raccoons, chemicals (some toxic), layers of paint, plants, furniture and architecture.

Invited Scholars:
Hannah M. Martin: Ways of Seeing on a Dying Planet.


What positions are possible, imaginable and potential for architecture and worldmaking, taking into account physical and digital, geographic and racialised, global and planetary conditions of the contemporary? Implicit in this interrogation is the agency of architecture.

Invited Scholars and writers:
Tania López Winkler (2020)
Carla Pravissani (2020)
Andrea Ballestero (2019)
Maria Susana Grijalva (2020)
Jenifer Montes Murcia (2020)
Natalia Salas (2020)
Luis Chaves (2019, 2018)
Keller Easterling (2017)
Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (2015)
Enrique Walker (2013, 2015)
Pablo Hernández (2014)
Dennis Arias (2014)
Mark Cousins (2013)


Profaning Architectural Rendering:
Experimental exercises, with montage and architectural rendering, on projects made in design studio.

Invited scholars and artists:
Alejandra Celedón
Esteban Piedra
Daniel Barroca
Doreen Bernath
Robert Stuart-Smith


Learning to see

In the context of studies on contemporary visuality, the article assesses critical modalities of relationship between the contemporary architectural image and its political potential.


How do planetary scale and notions of incommensurability inform artistic practice and research?



Workshop in Southeast University Nanjing 南京大学 建学院, China.

What does it mean to design in section? What does it mean to imagine the project with maps? To what challenges is the architectural project exposed by using diagrams? By employing rendering? Is the pixel a “threshold of visibility”? These are some of the questions that this seminar poses. To discuss them, we will work with texts, architectural projects, and works of art.

AA Visiting School Mexico City.

As an approach to the issue of architectural knowledge and representation, this workshop will draw on the images of photojournalist Enrique Metinides, who from 1946 to 1993 photographed crimes and accidents across Mexico City. The city caught in the sidelong glance of the lens over a span of 50 years offers an alternative reading: a montage of the city observed in its contingencies. What traces, what forms of the city, do these images inhabit? What kinds of cities is it possible to see in them? What do they articulate about Mexico City?

AA Visiting School Atitlan Lake, Guatemala.

We explored the lake by conducting a range of activities: we interviewed local people to get specific information; we flew drones, took aerial photos, and made videos; we learned how to get 3D models from them and we downloaded, visualized, and analyze data from different sources using GIS. In summary, we gained different insights into the lake and its physical and social environment with the aim of eventually working on diverse visions for the future of the lake, crystalized in the production of a number of short videos.


Subterranean Architectures

Remote School – A collaboration with The Ethnography Studio Co-directed by Andrea Ballestero and Valeria Guzmán

This workshop combines critical reflection, drawing and collective research to explore hydro-geo-social formations. Through aquifers, it provokes alternative ways of thinking about underground space and its habitability beyond extractive relations. The following sketches were made by the students in written form in the initial phase of the workshop. The exploration was carried out within the framework of the Theory of Architecture II course at the University of Costa Rica in 2021.[in Spanish]

Escuela Remota de las Arquitecturas Subterráneas. Este taller combina la reflexión crítica, el dibujo y la investigación colectiva para explorar las formaciones hidro-geo-sociales. A través de los acuíferos, provoca maneras alternativas de pensar el espacio subterráneo y su habitabilidad mas allá de relaciones extractivas. Los siguientes bocetos fueron realizados por las personas estudiantes de forma escrita en la fase inicial del taller. La exploración se hizo en el marco del curso Teoría de la Arquitectura II de la Universidad de Costa Rica en 2021.

Learning To See

Learning To See: Otto Neurath’s Visual Autobiography, Intellect.
English, August 2021.

This chapter examines the modalities of seeing presented in Otto Neurath’s posthumous text From Hieroglyphics to Isotype, A Visual Autobiography. The analysis focuses on three topics set out in the Autobiography: the experiences of seeing, visual education and the democratization of knowledge. Georges Didi-Huberman’s conceptual distinction, prendre position/ prendre parti [‘taking position/taking sides’], frames the present examination, allowing the tensions in the act of seeing that the Autobiography presents to be revealed. By situating it in relation to contemporary studies on visuality and knowledge, an introductory reflection is offered on the ways in which architecture continues to activate one of Neurath’s most problematic thesis, namely, the relationship between graphic language and an aspiration to enhance democratic societies, and, lastly, Harun Farocki’s video-installation Deep Play is considered as realigning the difference between taking position and taking sides; a decisive difference when thinking about the political and the visual in architecture.

Escrito colectivo

En el curso Teoría de la Arquitectura II del primer ciclo 2021 sugerí un ejercicio de escritura de autoría colectiva en forma de diálogo entre la o el estudiante antes de Covid y su propia imagen en zoom: ¿De qué conversarían la imagen y la estudiante pre-Covid? ¿Qué se dirían uno al otro? ¿Tienen algo que imaginar junt+s?



[November 30] Continuous Reconfigurations. Conference for the Sustainable Tourism, Optimal Resource and Environmental Management Project (STOREM), Universidad Nacional, Chorotega Campus, Nicoya, Guanacaste.

[November 5] Learning to see, Chapter presentation for the online launch of Visual Research Methods in Architecture (Intellect, 2021) edited by Igea Troiani and Susanne Ewing.

[October 8] The Gesture, A Celebration of the Life and Work of Mark Cousins, Autumn symposium organised by Architectural Association School of Architecture, London. Link.

[September 2] Arquitectura, Antropoceno y Geopolítica (in Spanish) Webinar organised by Centro de Estudios Mexicanos UNAM and Oficina de Asuntos Internacionales UCR. YouTube UNAM Costa Rica and FacebookLive OAICE Universidad de Costa Rica

[August 19] Arquitectura regalada, el Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica y la República Popular China (2007-2011) (in Spanish). Virtual Conferences on China, YouTube Live. Organised by Red Académica Latino Americanista sobre Estudios Sinológicos, University of Costa Rica. Convened by Lai Sai Acón and Ricardo Ramírez. Link

[July 5-7] Colonial space-time: China and the Jamaican Parliament. Seminar on Society, Economy and Urban Development on the Caribbean. Faculty of Geography and History, University of Seville. Convened by Emilio Luque Azcona. Programme (in Spanish).

[July 1st] Architectural Association Caribbean Global Forum. Programme The event comprises three sessions focusing on contemporary issues relevant to the region: Urban Development and the Sustainable Growth of Cities; Natural Disasters and Resiliency; and Advanced Methodology of Design and its Adaptability to the Caribbean Environment.

Chinese architectural practices in Central America

The Design and Construction of the National Stadium in Costa Rica, Short Commentary for SOAS China Institute, University of London, July 2021. Link.

Writing Competition 2021

Conceptualised by Valeria Guzmán and Luis Durán. Funded by the School of Architecture University of Costa Rica.

Spanish 2021 EDITION

Presentación: Para continuar enriqueciendo las prácticas escriturales sobre la arquitectura y para visibilizar las voces de l+s estudiant+s, sus ideas e inquietudes es que se propone la cuarta convocatoria al concurso ESCRIBIR ARQUITECTURA. Así, se renueva el compromiso por visibilizar tanto las maneras alternativas de pensar como las maneras alternativas de escribir fuera de los formatos tradicionales, es decir, donde sea posible articular saberes y afectos, problemas y preguntas con palabras, dibujos, diagramas, mapas y otro material visual (comunicados, conversaciones, pantallazos, memes, fotografías, vídeos, gifs o cualquier formato hipertextual y multimedial).

Jurado: Luis Durán Segura – antropólogo, docente e investigador- EAQ UCR Valeria Guzmán Verri – teórica, arquitecta e investigadora, EAQ UCR Tania López Winkler – artista, arquitecta y docente. Royal College of Arts Reino Unido Camilo Retana – filósofo, docente e investigador. Posgrado en Artes, UCR

Presentation and Discussion August 2021 (in Spanish)

Stadium and Volcano

Stadium and Volcano: An Encounter between a Chinese Stadium and a Costa Rican Volcano on a Geophysicist’s Monitor. Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, English, 2021.

Gifting Architecture

China and the National Stadium in Costa Rica, 2007–11. Architectural History 63. English, 2020.

The delivery of stadiums — either as gifts or as concessional loans — is part of a strategy that the People’s Republic of China has been implementing since the mid-1960s in its diplomatic relations with Asian, African, Caribbean and South Pacific countries. The National Stadium in Costa Rica, designed and built from 2007 to 2011, is a prime example of China’s diplomatic drive through the cultural-geopolitical spaces of the ‘Third World’. It reveals the political, financial and diplomatic operations at stake, the kind of roles architects are expected to perform and the forms of architectural debate (if any) they elicit. The stadium also brought with it the visions, interests and weaknesses of specific architectural practices related to Chinese foreign-aid projects, which involved the replication of identical forms across continents. The building highlights the interrelated processes that China has developed over decades through diplomacy and financing, the construction industry, public administration, architectural know-how and global trade

Read the full article here.

Ingrese con cuenta institucional UCR aquí.

Chinese architectural practices in Central America: The design and construction of the National Stadium in Costa Rica. Commentary for SOAS China Institute University of London, 13 July, 2021

Online Conference hosted by RALAES – Red Académica Latino (e Hispano) Americanista sobre Estudios Sinológicos (in Spanish)

Architecture of Interdependencies

Architecture of Interdependencies: China and Jamaica 2005-2019. Online Transversal Dialogues with architects Andrés Mignucci (Puerto Rico) and Gustavo Moré (Dominican Republic). Convened by José Enrique Delmonte and organised by Palm Foundation, Dominican Republic. 
Spanish. November, 2020.


[November 11]  Architecture of Interdependencies, China and Jamaica: 2005-2019. Online Transversal Dialogues convened by José Enrique Delmonte and organised by Palm Foundation, Dominican Republic. FacebookLive Fundación Palm and Youtube Fundación Palm

[February 28] Bridges and Enclaves: The Biomuseum in Panama City,  Caribbean School of Architecture, University of Technology, Kingston, Jamaica. 

[February 21] So, what’s the Project? Faculty of the Built Environment, University of Technology, Kingston, Jamaica.

[March 3] Conversation with Ph.D. Candidates, MPhil/Ph.D. Programme  Faculty of the Built Environment, University of Technology, Kingston, Jamaica. Convened by Patricia Green.  

Writing Competition 2019

Conceptualised by Valeria Guzmán and Luis Durán. Funded by the School of Architecture, University of Costa Rica.



Ways of Seeing on a Dying Planet

Hannah M. Martin, Goldsmiths University of London

From Brazil to Vietnam, this workshop discussed how different forms of legal activism, indigenous and anti-colonial struggles, and aesthetic practices have attempted to document and denounce the entanglement of environmental and political violence at different scales. 

May 22 – 27 2019, School of Architecture, University of Costa Rica.
Convened by Valeria Guzmán Verri
Funded by University of Costa Rica-OAICE

Text Planetary toxicity, visuality and environmental violence.

CRÓNICA BREVE: 5 días de trabajo y discusión sobre toxicidad planetaria, representación visual y violencia medioambiental. Por: Valeria Guzmán 

Día 1: Imagen aérea

Se partió interrogando la interacción entre el papel de lo visual en relación con nuevas formas de violencia y el rol de la violencia en nuevas formas de lo visual. Asimismo, se discutió la entrada del medioambiente como actor en la guerra y se propuso ver el siglo veinte desde lo tóxico. Se repasaron las funciones de la imagen en la guerra: fotogrametría, simulación, ploteo y particularmente, vista aérea.  En ese marco y dentro de las dinámicas de contrainsurgencia durante la Guerra Fría, se abordó la selva tropical como objetivo y modo de violencia. De ahí, el término ecocidio. Se cerró la sesión planteando el uso de la fotografía como testimonio de la vida y la destrucción. 

Hannah Martin, Auditorio Escuela de Arquitectura, mayo 2019. Foto: Andrés Mora

Día 2: Secretos tóxicos 

A través del caso de la erradicación de cultivos ilícitos con fumigación aérea en la zona de Putumayo (práctica legalizada en Colombia en 1994 y robustecida en la década del 2000), se discuten metodologías para trabajar con casos de ecocidio donde no es posible visibilizar y probar directamente el evento.  Se le dio énfasis al uso de imágenes satelitales e imágenes del “antes, después y del vacío entre ellas” para plantear sistemas de reconocimiento y memoria en condiciones que no son lineales ni siguen un pensamiento lineal.  Se presentó investigación de la Escuela de Ciencias Políticas sobre cultivo de piña y de palma aceitera en Costa Rica.

Día 3: Forensic Architecture -casos –

Se presentaron los casos de los efectos del cambio climático en la isla Kivalina en Alaska, la violencia medioambiental y genocidio en el triangulo Ixil en Guatemala (1978-1983), el cambio radical del modelo espacial a partir de las “incursiones de exploradores, explotadores y evangelizadores” en la Amazonía ecuatoriana y el proceso de desposesión de tierras de los beduinos en al-Araqib. 

Día 4: Gira a Guácimo de Limón, mapeo con globos y papalote. Día 5: Taller introductorio de uso de imágenes recolectadas en la gira.

Fotos: Andrés Mora, David Vallejo y Valeria Guzmán


Faculty of Architecture Southeast University, Nanjing China.

For some decades now, the question about the efficacy of images has not been limited to the field of art history, philosophy or the media. Today anthropology, natural sciences, archaeology, computer science and literature, among others, are fields that recognize in the image a place for the production of knowledge that is subject to modification and displacement. This has entailed a change of focus that impacts both on the representation of meaning and on the conditions of representation. The lectures will explore how drawing and image in architecture have posed and continue to pose new ways of learning to see and question space, the city, and the environment in such a way that students enrich, expand and refine their criteria, design language and spatial intelligence.

Writing and Architecture Workshop

Luis Chaves.
School of Architecture, University of Costa Rica.

February 25-28 2019
Convened by Valeria Guzmán and AEDA.

Experiments in writing for students of architecture, 2019.
Writing workshop: final session February 2019 Photo: Valeria Guzmán

The Action is the Form

Victor Hugo’s TED Talk.
La acción es la forma Keller Easterling, Revistarquis UCR. Spanish, 2019.

“Space is a technology. Buildings and the cities they inhabit have become infrastructural—mobile, monetised networks. For the world’s power players, infrastructure space is a secret weapon. If Victor Hugo came back to give a TED talk, he might assert that architecture, once killed by the book, is reincarnate as something more powerful still—as information itself. If this space is a secret weapon, is it a secret best kept from those trained to make space?”


Scales, Sponges and Technical Apparatus

Scales, Sponges and Technical Apparatus:  Valeria Guzmán in conversation with anthropologist Andrea Ballestero.
Spanish 2019.

Navigating between architecture and anthropology, the following conversation grew out of two recent publications by Costa Rican anthropologist Andrea Ballestero: Living with Acquifiers, (e-flux,2019), a spatial and material interpretation of aquifers, and A Future History of Water (Duke Press, 2019), which explores ways to imagine alternative futures in the fusion of law, economics and techno-science. 



[January 29] Contemporary architecture in China, preliminary observations. Universidad Veritas, San José, Costa Rica.

[January 16-19]  “Right here, Right there:” regionalisms in China’s foreign aid projects I International Congress of Colonial and Postcolonial Landscapes: architecture, cities, infrastructures. Organised by Dinamia Centre of Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon. Programme

[January 16-19]  ​China in African, Latin American and Caribbean territories: Examining spatial transformations around diplomacy and economic aid, Co-chaired session at I International Congress of Colonial and Postcolonial Landscapes: architecture, cities, infrastructures. Organised by Dinamia Centre of Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon. Programme

Is the Profession Changing?

Michael Smith, Architect 
School of Architecture, University of Costa Rica. November 26, 2018.

Images Drawings Architectures

Faculty of Architecture Southeast University 东南大学建筑学院 Nanjing China.
April 18- May 18, 2018.

Each way of thinking imposes challenges and limits on what is thought. What does
it mean to design in section? What does it mean to imagine the project with maps?
To what challenges is the architectural project exposed by using diagrams? By
employing rendering? Is the pixel a “threshold of visibility”? These are some of the
questions that this seminar poses. To discuss them, we will work with texts,
architectural projects and works of art.


[November 11] Preliminary observations on contemporary architecture in China. Organised by AEDA Students’ Association,  School of Architecture, University of Costa Rica, San José. 

[June 25] A glimpse at the contemporary Central American Region.  Master’s Programme in Urban Planning. Organised by Prof. Wang Xingping, Southeast University, Nanjing. 

[March 15] Think of this, when they give you a building, what are they giving you? the National Stadium of Costa Rica 2007-11.  Piensa en esto: ¿Qué te regalan cuando te regalan un edificio?  Keynote Speaker, II Research Simposium, School of Architecture and Urbanism, Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica. San José, Costa Rica

Lake Atitlán

26 June – 7 July 2017

What kinds of demands are made by working with video? Working with images is an opportunity to make the image less a site for representation and more a site for enquiry. In this lecture by Valeria Guzmán, we will discuss the critical relationship between legibility, narration and video through the notion of montage, videogramme and the ‘poor image’.

Architectural Association Visiting School
You tube 

Knowing How: Seminar on Global Infrastructure Space

Keller Easterling, Yale University
School of Architecture, University of Costa Rica.
May 19 – 23 2017
Convened by Valeria Guzmán Verri
Funded by University of Costa Rica-OAICE

Repeatable formulas like spatial products and free-zone cities make most of the space in the world, and some of the world’s most radical changes are being written in the language of this almost infrastructural spatial matrix. Administered by mixtures of state and non-state players and driven by profound irrationalities, infrastructure space generates de facto, undeclared forms of polity that can outpace law. As unlikely as it may seem, this matrix space potentially brings to our art another relevance with different aesthetic pleasures and political capacities. The expanded techniques of form-making and political activism—the means to hack the operating system—often rely not only on “know that” but also on “knowing how.”

Translation The action is the form / La acción es la forma, in Revistarquis 8, 2019.



[Septiembre 6-8] Architecture and the migration of forms. Iconoclasm and Iconodulia, VII History of Art Simposium Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá. Programme

Writing Competition 2017

Conceptualised by Valeria Guzmán and Luis Durán. Funded by the School of Architecture, University of Costa Rica. 2017 EDITION.

Presentación: Para continuar enriqueciendo la discusión sobre la arquitectura, la ciudad, el territorio y el  medioambiente en nuestra escuela y para animar las voces de los estudiantes, sus ideas y maneras de pensar es que se propone la segunda convocatoria al concurso ESCRIBIR ARQUITECTURA. El concurso renueva el compromiso por visibilizar tanto las maneras alternativas de pensar como las maneras alternativas de escribir fuera de los formatos tradicionales es decir, alternativas donde sea posible articular saberes, problemas y preguntas con palabras, dibujos, diagramas, mapas, fotografías y otro material visual.

Jurado: Luis Durán Segura, Valeria Guzmán Verri, Ana Paula Montes Ruiz y Diego van der Laat.

The Role of Architecture in Costa Rica’s Public Works

The Role of Architecture in the Construction of Public Works in Costa Rica. In the Academy, radio interview by Néfer Muñoz.
Spanish, 2016.

Natures Infrastructures Architectures

A multidisciplinary discussion questioning nature as infrastructure, as an aesthetic of extinction, as environmental graphics and propaganda, with environmental historian Anthony Goebel, artist Carolina Guillermet, historian Luis Conejo and architect Valeria Guzmán. 
School of Architecture, University of Costa Rica, May 25 2016. 
Convened by Valeria Guzmán Verri.