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Lava Brick

submitted by

Elena Perez Guembe

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‘Lava brick” and spaces around the clay, in the house-workshop of a Zapotec artisan. Photos: Elena Perez Guembe

This ‘lava brick’ results from a situated project that studies-through-making the house-workshop of a Zapotec woman artisan who hosted me during two long periods of time.

The process of working with clay externalized the knowledge of my thinking body by materialising embodied memories in the brick (the earthquake of 2017 in Mexico, my training as architect…), while at the same time internalising new bodily memories created in the process of making, and through the daily practice in the spaces where the activity took place.. Thus, I could tacitly assimilate the spaces practical and symbolic functions, their everyday dynamics, their embedded rituals and myths that structure and give meaning to them. The thinking mind comes into play when an architectural analysis is made a posteriori, processing information and making explicit a vast cultural knowledge embedded in spaces that otherwise would have been overlooked because of their seemingly ‘simple’ or ‘uninteresting’ appearance.

Submitted by
Elena Perez Guembe is a licensed architect, currently undertaking a PhD degree at TU Delft in the Netherlands. Elena has worked in the offices of Zaha-Hadid, Rafael Moneo 04-06, and Grimshaw 08-11, and has taught at RPI School of Architecture in New York. Her work has been exhibited at the 2018 Venice Biennale as well as at the 2019 Lisbon Triennale.


This object is part of the TACK Exhibition “Unausgesprochenes Wissen / Unspoken Knowledge / Le (savoir) non-dit”, in the section “Making and Materiality”.