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Carlos Medellín

Carlos Medellín is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at GSAPP and a designer who builds spaces to foster new kinds of human interactions through social engagement and individual empowerment. He approaches architecture as a social practice, and through design, explores how space can address the structural inequity that shapes our society and the segregation and violence that comes with it.

Art, design research, participatory practices, qualitative methods, and new technologies are the tools he uses to design spatial protocols: learning processes where public dialog, community-based collaborations, and collective knowledge can improve the ways we build and use our environment and the relations within. Be they physical or digital, the objects, installations, buildings, urban designs, and planning he develops are always complemented by horizontal communication strategies and cultural programming. His aim is to promote different ways for the user to activate and embrace the designs.

As a social entrepreneur, Carlos developed horizontal, a non-profit built to produce social justice strategies through participatory design and by a transdisciplinary team. He has experience conceptualizing, designing, and managing projects across the globe. In initiatives commissioned by institutions like the Strelka institute, the Queens Museum, Columbia University GSAPP, The Institute of Contemporary Art at VCU, the World Bank, United Nations, and the inter-American Development Bank, he has approached different scales and topics. From toys to be exhibited in Moscow, learning tools for immigrant empowerment in New York, a flexible space for dialogues about commonwealth in Virginia, a replicable school model for Priština or restorative justice spaces in Bogotá to control risk, urban designs for the waterfront in Paramaribo and a resilient urban planning document and civic education frameworks for the coast front in Panama City, he has worked together with other architects, designers, educators, artists, environmental psychologists, and social researchers.

As a designer, another focus of his practice has been developing exhibitions. Carlos developed the research/exhibition “We play You play” as co-author along with Giancarlo Mazzanti. It has been showcased in 10 different cities and, since 2014, it is part of the permanent collection at Pompidou Museum in Paris. Since 2015, he has been part of international events with installations like: “Speaking Architecture” for the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), “The Wall” for the Milano Triennale (2016), “Trustics” for the Venice Biennale (2016), and “Jugando con Pedagogías” for el Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid COAM (2019). In 2016 he was the local partner of the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV for the design and construction of the pavilion “Un Pueblo Holandés” in the frame the international book fair in Bogotá. He has also directed winning teams for international architecture competitions like el Nuevo Velódromo in Medellín and el Parque Educativo in Marinilla, and has been awarded grants from organizations such as the Graham Foundation with the project “Behind the wall: pedagogical exercises for restoring citizenship (2018).

As a researcher and teacher, Carlos has designed and taught studios and seminars in schools of architecture and urban planning such as Universidad Javeriana and Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia. He has given lectures around the world about the social impact that architecture and urbanism have on our society. Some of them include: University of Tokyo (2012), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2012), the Summer Program at Strelka Institute in Moscow (2013), Buenos Aires Architecture Biennale (2013), Cite de la Architecture in Paris (2014), the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid (2014), Leuven Auditorium lecture series (2014), Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), UCBM Conference at MAXXI, and Architecture & Education in Rome (2018), among others.

Carlos is currently the executive director of horizontal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Design from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá (2010) and a postgraduate degree in architecture and urban research from Strelka Institute for Media, architecture, and design in Moscow (2012).


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4105‑12 Fall 2018
Spaces that Learn: From Object to Subject
Axonometric Drawing by Iyad Abou Gaida and Jean-Pierre Villafane
Section Elevation Drawing by Lili AlAli and Carolina Madureira
Axonometric Section by Nicholas Soniprasad and Shuang Zhao
Giancarlo Mazzanti, Carlos Medellín Syllabus
0 Points
A4105‑12 Fall 2017
Architecture Studio V
Arch mazzanti medellin coco ke shi patrick li fa17 01 ollas all
Arch mazzanti medellin coco ke shi patrick li fa17 02 axonometric
Arch mazzanti medellin coco ke shi patrick li fa17 03 exploded axon
Giancarlo Mazzanti, Carlos Medellín Syllabus
Full Semester
0 Points
Pla6875‑1 Fall 2017
Joint Architecture Seminar
Marcela Tovar-Restrepo, Giancarlo Mazzanti, Carlos Medellín Syllabus Built Environment
201 Fayerweather
TH 2 PM - 4 PM
Full Semester
3 Points