Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Arief Setiawan


This research explores how stories, music, and patterns intersect to shape the built environment, with an emphasis on spotlighting the Wayuu tribe, a resilient culture facing extinction in the arid desert of La Guajira, Colombia. The Wayuu people have endured centuries of adversity, including colonialism, exploitation, drug trafficking, and internal conflict. In this place, water and food are scarce, and child mortality rates are very high. Despite hardships, they preserve a culture of resilience thanks to their tradition of oral storytelling. Drawing from the tradition of storytelling, the works of writer Gabriel García Márquez, particularly his Magical Realism, serve as a source of inspiration. His words dance on the line between fantasy and harsh realities, mirroring the delicate balance the Wayuu people navigate. This research is guided by architects like Francis Kere, Doshi, Gregory Burgess, Toshiko Mori, and Jane Drew, as well as the writings of Frampton and Moholy-Nagy. Their work integrates sustainable practices, celebrates cultural narratives through innovative forms, and adapts traditional techniques and materials to contemporary challenges. Their design principles are applied to translate structures and patterns from Wayuu’s musical stories into form and space. Based on Wayuu music, key rhythms will inform spatial arrangements, while tonal qualities will inspire materials and surface patterns. By translating these musical stories into design elements, the Wayuu spirit is celebrated architecturally. This research highlights the importance of the Wayuu culture beyond a mere academic pursuit, serving as a platform to break silence, raise awareness, and share the rich heritage of the researcher. ‘From Silence to Thriving: Architecture as a Voice for the Wayuu Tribe,’ aims to use architecture as a tool for social change that will offer a shedding light on a culture that deserves to thrive.

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