ARCHITECTURE AND URKUPINA

Bolivia Internships 09/03/2016 0From the Interns

Sophie McDevitt

Cochabamba, Bolivia

outside_of_my_apartmentThe first week was a lot to take in. The apartment I am staying in is designed in an ecological/organic way, and it was designed by Moscoso, the company I am working for. The designs remind me of eggs as they curved structures from the base and are entirely open floor plans. The buildings optimize sunlight and air circulation, they are not ‘normal’ constructions.

My apartment is attached to a centralized structure with the head architect and his wife living in the house. They have many animals, five llamas, a horse, African geese, normal geese, parrots, South American ostriches, other tropical birds, and peacocks. They live their commitment to ecological development and maintaining organic integrity. It has become my job to feed all the animals before I go to work. At first I was hesitant, I do not like birds at all. Particularly geese. I still do not like the geese but it has been a nice way to start the workday.

As an intern for Moscoso I spent the first week seeing various projects and learning about their design outlook. It is radically different than conventional architecture and I have enjoyed understanding more about what they wish to accomplish. I will be working in social media expansion, translating documents, and biomaterial research.

The first weekend I was able to attend Urkupina which is the biggest festival that Cochabamba has. It celebrates the Virgin of Urkupina and culminates in a four day extravaganza. The Mary Knoll volunteers were kind enough to take me to the procession, which was the first day. There were different dances and ornate costumes from all areas of Bolivia. It was incredible and lasts for hours. The next few days have a midnight procession, mass, and other various celebrations. It was impressive to see such an incredible display of cultural heritage. It is rarely seen in the United States as indigenous populations were forced into the most extreme climates and their culture is not often recognized or appreciated by mainstream America.

My first week here was a great one, I feel welcomed and excited to be here. There is so much more I would like to know about this culture and even more I do not know about yet.


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