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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The centuries-old neocolonial relationship between the United States and Latin America is marked by acts of silencing, either directly in the hands of U.S. foreign affairs organizations or by proxy governments economically supported by the United States. These attempts to de-memorialize the atrocities of the past consolidate the power dynamic between the inheritors of colonial rule, and those who were colonized. U.S. interventionist policies––borne of corporate interests, the safeguarding of capitalism, and a skewed sense of national security––have created mass and enduring violence in Latin America, resulting in waves of migration north, where the journeys of the displaced are often denied, erased, and forgotten. This thesis began as an exploration of the U.S -Mexico border wall, understanding it as a flagship banner of propaganda, and has developed into the analysis of a state of surveillance across the Mexican territory. By analyzing and interpreting migratory paths through the states of Chiapas, Guanajuato and Chihuahua, the thesis centers, validates, and upholds the multiplicity and variability of the phenomenon of migration.

This proposal takes a critical stance towards the current state of refuge and safety throughout Mexico for migrants. Currently, humanitarian efforts deny the permanence of human mobility in the Americas by only affording provisional housing. Focusing on migration by foot, the thesis envisions a network of hyper-visible, and thus invisible, spaces of shelter that are permanent and rely on communal action in defiance of xenophobic laws. Nested within an already existing network of community chapels and working within the language of contemporary vernacular architecture, the spaces of shelter provide respite, information, as well as legal and medical services, and dismantle centralized approaches to humanitarian aid. Their existence as permanent structures memorialize migration, signify resistance, and attempt to provide dignity and power to those migrating through the Mexican territory towards a promised land.


First Advisor

Pari Riahi

Second Advisor

Carey Clouse