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Andres Souto

MA work

The Aesthetics of Hope

The Aesthetics of Hope is a research project that investigates architecture made outside the boundaries of official culture. It explores the methods and processes in which popular culture appropriates and interprets official architecture and speculates on how these might evolve.

The self-built tiny chapels scattered throughout Mexico City represent the most faithful examples of how popular culture appropriates and interprets official architectural language. They reveal our reading and use of space through a collectively understood application. Both the archetypes and the aesthetic language render the buildings visible. This idea is further evidenced by the tiny chapels that try to resemble the New Basilica of Guadalupe and raise the question of when, how and why do new archetypes emerge and how is an archetype brought into cultural understanding?

The potential for broader and global influence is manifested in the way popular culture and the DIY community have spread into the digital world. As a relevant platform, I use SketchUp and its 3D Warehouse as a means to test these ideas and speculate on how such industries and cultures might affect each other in the creation of archetypes, architectural meaning, style and taste.

Through the use of film and video the project legitimises the construction of The New(er) Basilica de Guadalupe living inside the 3D Warehouse. Youtube channels appear that teach new techniques on how to translate the architecture of the digital cathedral into the real world. Self built versions of the cathedral begin to appear throughout the city. An architecture that references and valorises itself.

“Architecture must be conducted as an exploration into an uncharted territory where the map is invented while proceeding; otherwise all that is discovered is the same old normal architecture, but with kinks.”

- Charles Jencks


  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2017

  • Andres Souto is an architect and artist from Mexico City currently based in London and coursing the MA Architecture course at the Royal College of Art fully sponsored by the Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholarship 2015–17.

    After finishing a BA in Architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City (2010) Andres formed his on-going practice Talller; a multidisciplinary art and architecture studio with a vast number of projects widely ranging in program and scale. Among them are the museography for the solo exhibition of conceptual artist Fritzia Irisar at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City and the project of a private residence published in the Mexican Pavilion’s Booklet at the Venice Architecture Biennalle.

    Parallel to his architectural work, Andres has dedicated the past few years in taking architectural investigation into the realms of art and research. His recent work investigates architecture made outside the boundaries of official culture, particularly in the unregulated settlements of Mexico City and the State of Mexico. It draws inspiration from ordinary, mundane and neglected objects and construction materials and reshapes them to give new value and symbolic meaning to the image of these settlements and the people living in them. His art – mainly sculpture, digital print and moving image - explores, investigates and reacts to the signs and symbols that reflect social, political and economic dynamics in unregulated settlements.
  • Degrees

  • BA Architecture and Urbanism, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, 2010