Ana Vargas

Caracas-based architect Ana Vargas was awarded the 2018 AFIELD fellowship for her NGO Trazando Espacios Publicos (Tracing Public Space).

In overcrowded and disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, Trazando Espacios Publicos teaches children urban design skills to transform public spaces within their communities. It relies on a specific method Ana Vargas developed as an MIT student and based on the belief that, for citizens to participate on a public space design process, they must be given the tools to understand, design and build1.

As of today, Ana Vargas and her collaborators have transformed over 19 public spaces in Venezuela through workshops with volunteers, each one of them reflecting the desires and identity of the community where they belong. "The impact of this work has been palpable beyond the physical transformation of the space: it has actually transformed young citizens", says Ana Vargas. They have learnt photography, mapping, design and construction tools that allow them to lead and execute these transformation processes while also discovering their individual capacities to change their communities through collaborative work. Ana now plans to develop and expand the "TEP" method by creating a digital cloud-based manual teaching it to architects and designers who can, in turn, become its replicators both in Venezuela and globally.

Ana Vargas is a young architect who grew up in Caracas and has worked in Italy, India and USA. She holds an Architecture Degree from Universidad Central de Venezuela and a Master of Science in Architecture and Urbanism from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been awarded the 2014 Dubai International Award for Best Practices with UN-Habitat and the 2014 Thesis Award MIT School of Architecture. She is currently professor and researcher for the Urbanism Institute at the Architecture Faculty of the Universidad Central de Venezuela as well as director of Trazando Espacios P├║blicos and her own architecture practice.

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You can watch a video here, and follow the initiative activity on Instagram.

cover and top image: Ana Vargas

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