The Ruins and the Interior Landscape interdisciplinary studio invited both landscape architecture and interior architecture students to design a live/work space for visiting artists at one of Antigua’s former convents. The site included the ruins of the convent itself as well as its grounds and an adjacent villa.
My approach to the project was heavily influenced by Antigua’s unique history of volatile geotectonics; the city lies nestled in a valley surrounded by three large volcanoes. It was founded in 1543 and served as Spain’s provincial capital in colonial Guatemala until a series of devastating earthquakes in 1773 prompted authorities to relocate the capital to present-day Guatemala City. Today, Antigua is a tourist destination with much of its colonial architecture remaining in tact.
The convent’s ruins struck me as a very appropriate site for musical performances, so I customized my design and program for visiting musicians. Pink Floyd’s performance at Pompeii from 1972 served as an additional inspiration in this sense.
My final design safely evokes the area’s volatile geotectonic history for the audience’s engagement during live performances. To achieve this, I developed an exterior flooring system in which live musical performances activate the ground plane. The system amplifies the reverberations of the music itself by capturing soundwaves in a hollow cavity beneath the flooring surface, prompting them to reflect within that space until released through apertures that dissipate with distance from the sound source. This system forms the basis of my design, literally from the ground up.