The professional packaging of the design discipline - intent on creating, projecting and transforming - may overlook the pertinence and relevance of being first and foremost curious observers and empathetic listeners, capable of celebrating and recognizing what already exists. This lecture will reflect on community engagement strategies and the crafting of an inclusive approach to design through the work of Enlace Arquitectura in the barrio (informal settlement) La Palomera in Caracas Venezuela, which will be part of the 17th Architecture Biennial in Venice 2021.
Elisa Silva is principal and founder of Enlace Arquitectura and Enlace Foundation, established in Caracas, Venezuela. The two entities work in tandem to advance the integration of cities including informal settlements through participatory design processes and cultural programs. Their work has received awards in numerous design competitions and international architecture and urban design biennials. The San Juan María Vianney Church in Media Legua, Venezuela was awarded in the XI BIAU 2019 and the project Integration Process Caracas in the barrio La Palomera is part of the XVII Venice Architecture Biennial 2021. Elisa received the Rome Prize from the American Academy in 2005, the Wheelwright Fellowship from Harvard in 2011, Graham Foundation Grant 2017 and the Lucas Artist Fellowship 2019. She is co-author of CABA: Cartography of the Caracas barrios (2014) and Pure Space: Expanding the Public Sphere through Public Space Transformations in Latin American Spontaneous Settlements (Actar, 2020). Elisa has a Master degree in Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She has taught at Princeton University School of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela. At present, she is teaching an elective course and research studio at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Design at the University of Toronto