As a result of a trip in the Summer of 2016, this collaborative project aims to illustrate the views and values of the indigenous cultures of Chiapas, Mexico and their impact on the built form.


Reinterpreting CHIAPAS

In Progress

In collaboration with Beatriz Gutierrez

SURG Grant Recipient


Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico. It houses about 13.5% of all of Mexico's indigenous population, with an estimated 56 linguistic groups scattered throughout the state's 111 municipalities. These groups have been historically resistant to assimilation into the broader Mexican society, and this has been especially made evident by the Zapatista uprising in 1994.

While the vast majority of the population is Catholic, their set of beliefs and rituals are heavily syncretized with preexisting Maya views. Due to the lack of Spanish involvement during times of colonization, the villages of Chiapas have developed in a vacuum, which have resulted in a unique culture from the rest of the country.


As it’s been made evident by recent conversations in American politics, there’s a skewed image of Mexican culture and its citizens. Through the creation of a series of visuals, we're aiming to inform both people inside and outside of Mexico about the views and values held by the Tzeltal, Tzotzil, and Tojolabal communities of Chiapas. Our research is focused on the "concepts" behind the beliefs of these groups, which are then illustrated and used to imagine what these villages would look like if they architecturally and urbanistically were to follow these ideals as they continue to modernize themselves.

                                                            altsil: everything lives

                                                            altsil: everything lives


Project scheduled for completion May 2017