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Carlos Medellín

Carlos Medellín (he/him) is a spatial designer who believes that design is not only an exterior but also an inner work and approaches design as a relational process and a social and transdisciplinary practice. By exploring the role of design in producing the structural inequities that shape society, he orients his work toward finding ways to repair environmental and social injustices and support repairing the relationship breaches that such reality has caused.

As a citizen, Carlos has witnessed the extremes of Colombia’s armed conflict and the resulting spatial segregation and profound violence that has defined its society. As a queer man has experienced the danger of moving through spaces shaped by absolute notions imposed on individuals’ class, race, or sexuality: what does not fit in the pre-existent idea must be forced to fit or left aside. As an immigrant, he had learned that a house is not a home and that rebuilding it in often unwelcoming and unfamiliar environments requires creating transformative and supportive relationships while resisting betraying yourself and your traditions. And, as an architect, he has become aware that building is also to govern and that architecture is a political act that can define how we live and relate.

That context explains why he understands that space is in constant conflict because we are different and live in it together. But most importantly, why he believes space and designers can have a role as mediators to overcome the different kinds of violence that come with deep social divisions and structural inequities. Therefore, he is interested in holding spaces for social engagement and individual empowerment.

Independently and in collaborating with design teams at Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, Fundacion Horizontal, El Equipo Mazzanti, The Embassy of The Netherlands in Bogota, The United Nations Against Drugs and Crime, Bogota’s District: Secretary of Security, Coexistence, and Justice, the Interamerican Development Bank and the World Bank, The Queens Museum, The Institute of Contemporary Art at VCU, La Biennale di Venezia, The Chicago Architecture Biennial, Triennale di Milano; Carlos has conceptualized, designed, and managed transdisciplinary projects in art, architecture, urban, interior, product, and service design across the globe.

Medellín has also developed and led social entrepreneurship and research on how design processes can be more fair by learning from Restorative Justice and ancestral Land Acknowledgment practices. As a teacher at Universidad Javeriana, Universidad de los Andes, The Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, and Columbia University, he has focused on creating a new studio-classroom culture. So, together with the students, they explore their professional roles as reality builders and engage with the land more respectfully by collaboratively investigating their stories and contexts. Students also learn team-based design by practicing relationship-building, coaching mechanisms, and negotiation skills.

Carlos Medellín holds a B. Arch from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, a Postgraduate in Research on Media Architecture and Design from Strelka Institute in Moscow, and a Master of Advanced Design from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He is also a magician apprentice, has training in mediation strategies, and practices Tarot and swimming.

He is currently located and moving between the ancestral and unceded territories of the Muisca and Lenape peoples: Bogota and Brooklyn.

Courses

Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4101‑8 Fall 2023
Architecture Studio I
Carlos Medellín
500 NORTH AVERY
FULL SEMESTER
10015