Design Journey: A View from the Global South

  • Michèle Wilkomirsky Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso
  • Marcos Mortensen Steagall  (Translator)
Keywords: Adventure, Design study plan, Impediments, Poetic view, Travesía,


In 1984 the Travesías was incorporated as a preponderant activity in the study plan for all the Architecture and Design workshops at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso from Chile. The voyages are study tours of professors and students whose purpose is to build together a work of design construction and light duration somewhere in America. The equation of the journey is always open: the place, the number of resources and impediments make it an adventure. But it is not an adventure without measure, but that of allowing ourselves to be surprised by some dimension of America that we do not know or believe we know, and then we feel in direct experience. The Travesías project constitutes the last of the inventions of the school, which, together with the Phalène, Ciudad Abierta and the churches built by the Work Workshops in the south of Chile, has been developing to fulfil the vision of inhabiting this American continent. It was to realize a utopia, of itself the unrealizable. However, the saying of poetry and the doing of design propose the fit of life, work, and study. The first step was forty years ago with the founding of the Institute of Architecture, and ten years ago, the passage of the e Travesías that go out to tour the continent. These steps are not intermediaries for other purposes; if not so that our days are simultaneous to our work, and thus, we reach the present. After almost 20 years of experiencing these Travesías, we still ask ourselves about our poetic destiny as a vision of this America not discovered but founded as a gift. The journey, unlike the class in the classroom, incorporates the life of the student, their customs and social ties, as well as their personal characteristics, values, attitudes and knowledge of life. This can only be appreciated and evidenced through uprooting pedagogy in the classroom. Then, once the student is subjected to an extraordinary life regime, it will be precisely his most intimate thoughts and actions that will remain in all evidence, a situation that is difficult to obtain in the traditional and regulated structure that constitutes teaching in the classroom to this day. This presentation illustrates the last Design Travesía, held in November of the present year and the continuous question about our global south. 

Author Biography

Michèle Wilkomirsky, Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso
Michèle Wilkomirsky Uribe is an Associate Professor, Graphic Designer, Doctor of the Rey Juan Carlos University, Secretary of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) Graphic Designer Faculty, Doctor of Tourism from the URJC, Madrid, Spain. Professor of the design career at the PUCV School of Architecture and Design (EAD). In the Design undergraduate course, she teaches the Observation, Foundation and Form workshop and the Legible City workshop in the cycle of the trade. In addition, she teachs the subject Design and contemporary culture in the disciplinary cycle. She direct Design projects with emphasis in Graphic Design and Interaction Design. She is a member of the faculty of the Magister in Architecture and Design in the Extension, City and Habitability area.