Urban Architecture and Nature in South America: Studies on Symbolic Imagery, Urban Projects, Landscape, and Territorial Transf

This lecture course looks at the construction of landscape – as social and symbolic artifact – in South America and at the ways in which urban design, architecture, and fine arts have understood, represented, and materialized the idea of proper \”Nature.\” In the perspective of cultural studies, we will link diverse registers (cartography, literary documents, natural sciences, political and economic considerations, etc.) with the complex of \”dioptric arts\” (Roland Barthes\' definition) and territorial planning techniques in order to reinterpret the cultural soil in which South American traditions were woven. Main cases are selected considering contrasts, as the thesis is that nothing like unitary \”Hispanic\” culture or Unitarian nature exists (the same idea of Latin America as a political and historical construction). We will study the modern but controversial Sao Paulo and Rio traditions in Brazil, with their climax in Brasilia, and the \”popular\” reversions of Bahia; the seduction of Peruvian pre-Hispanic culture (a maiz culture) since the late 1960s, which nurtured new political views of the environment regarding local and international proposals; the different treatments of the pampas and the coasts of the Rio de la Plata (Buenos Aires and Montevideo); the experience of Patagonian landscape (Andean and extra-Andean) in Chile and Argentina; and the ways that neglected countries, such as Bolivia and Paraguay, are trying now to find their own architectural paths – their own character, regarding a particular structure of \”nature\” sensibility.