Extreme Environments Inhabitation

Atacama Desert Workshop | August 2017 | MIT-PUC | Misti Chile

Constraint Based Process Design for Fabrication

The workshop is open for architecture and engineering students.

Extreme Environments Inhabitation

The extreme environment workshop explores the “process design" concept for developing a construction material based in the holistic conditions of inhabiting the Atacama desert in Chile. First will travel to the desert  and important locations such as mining operations and astronomical observatories,and then will develop a process design for two weeks.  This approach includes weather, location, availability of material and workforce, ecological variables and inhabitation prospects. Process design incorporates flow chart type of thinking to comprehend time in material.

July 31th to August 18th 2017
Six day field trip to PUC Atacama Station Alto Patache, San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Minerals Operations and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
Two week work period at PUC Campus Lo Contador in Santiago

This workshop is funded by MISTI Chile and organized jointly by MIT Architecture (MIT), the Catholic University of Chile (PUC) and Universal Projects (UP). Credits are available for MIT and PUC Architecture School students.

You apply online application by completing the form at the bottom of this page. The selection process will consider interviews and will be anounced via email. 

The Extreme Environments Inhabitation Worshop requires a fee of US$850 per participant, which includes travel and accommodation to the Atacama desert, but do not include flights to Chile or accommodation in Santiago. Half-fee scholarships are available and will be comunicated on the selection process.

Process Design

"Brunelleschi's famous cupola for the cathedral of Florence was among the very first examples of this (design) technological dimension. It is well known that Brunelleschi designed not only a structure but also the machines and the process that enabled its real­ization."
Picon, Antoine. “Architecture, Science, Technology and the Virtual Realm.” Picon, Antoine and Alessandra Ponte. Architecture and the Sciences: Exchanging Metaphors. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003. 292 - 313. Print.



is a co-director and founder of the Self-Assembly Lab housed at MIT’s International Design Center. The Self-Assembly Lab focuses on self-assembly and programmable material technologies for novel manufacturing, products and construction processes. Skylar is an Assistant Professor of Design Research in the Department of Architecture where he teaches graduate and undergraduate design studios and How to Make (Almost) Anything, a seminar at MIT's Media Lab with Neil Gershenfeld. Skylar was recently named R&D Magazine's 2015 Innovator of the Year, 2015 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, 2014 Inaugural WIRED Fellow, 2014 Gifted Citizen, 2013 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award, 2013 Architectural League Prize, The Next Idea Award at Ars Electronica 2013, Visionary Innovation Award at the Manufacturing Leadership Summit, 2012 TED Senior Fellow and was named a Revolutionary Mind in SEED Magazine’s 2008 Design Issue. Previously, he has worked at a number of renowned design offices including: Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture and Point b Design. He has designed and built large-scale installations at galleries around the world, has been published extensively in outlets such as the New York Times, Wired, Nature, Fast Company as well as various peer-reviewed journals and books. Skylar has a Professional Degree in Architecture and minor in experimental computation from Philadelphia University. Continuing his education at MIT, he received a Master of Science in Design Computation and a Master of Science in Computer Science. Initiated in 2007, Skylar Tibbits is also the founder and principal of a multidisciplinary design practice, SJET LLC. www.selfassemblylab.net

is a researcher, designer, and educator working at the interface of architecture and structural engineering.  She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Building Technology Program, where she leads the Digital Structures research group and co-directs the Structural Design Lab. As a researcher, Mueller focuses on developing new computational methods and tools for synthesizing architectural and structural intentions in early-stage design.  She also works in the field of digital fabrication, with a focus on linking high structural performance with new methods of architectural making.  In addition to her digital work, she conducts research on the nature of collaboration between architects and engineers from a historical perspective.  Mueller also aims for interdisciplinary learning and integration in her teaching efforts, which include subjects in structural design and computational methods.


holds a Master's Degree in Agricultural Economics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He has specialized in the development of projects for the collection of mist water, evaluation and research of this water resource, as well as application to Large scale technology to provide water for domestic, ecological or scientific purposes. He has long been involved in field work associated with fog projects and has contributed in a number of technological innovations to the design of fog sensors. Since 1996, he has worked on tourism planning and development in Chile, especially in remote areas such as the Atacama Desert, the Andes, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. He is currently responsible for Geography Projects UC, office in charge of the sale of services of the Institute of Geography, covering both the public and private spheres. TO BE CONFIRMED.

is an architect and Master of Architecture, Catholic University of Chile, 2000. PhD in Architecture, Architectural Association School of Architecture, 2008. His 2014 Chile Pavilion titled Monolith Controversies, and co–curated with Hugo Palmarola, was awarded a Silver Lion during the 14th Venice Architecture Biennial. Together they have curated exhibitions and presented their work at the Architectural Association in London, the Pratt Institute in New York, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the São Paulo Cultural Centre. They are the authors of the books Panel (Architectural Association, 2014) and Monolith Controversies (Hatje Cantz, 2014), which was awarded a DAM Architectural Book Award from the Deutsches Architekturmuseum and Frankfurt Book Fair in 2014. He is associate professor at Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, visiting tutor at Architectural Association in London, and Princeton-Mellon Fellow 2015-2016 at Princeton University.


MS MIT, MARQ PUC, is a MIT PhD Design and Computation doctorate candidate. Her current research is on how space affects people’s motion, enabled by technology. By developing empirical research, Paloma seeks to quantify this effect and use it to inform the design process. This research begun in her Master of Science thesis at MIT, “Space and Motion” and has continued throughout her PhD.  Her professional experience consists of sports building design, artificial lagoons and governmental buildings design and construction. Paloma worked in the remodelling of the Monumental Stadium of Chile, dealing with crowds and massivity. The stadium project was developed as her first Master's degree at PUC Universidad Católica of Chile. Her wide interests go from cognitive science, software development, sensor and virtual reality applications for behavioral spatial studies, data simulation and visualization, digital and biological worlds, public and political space,  and finally, material explorations.

MA MARQ – PUC has specialized in computer modelling, fabrication and digital architecture theory. He has worked as a programmer and interaction designer in many projects in Santiago, and for the Energy exhibition at the MAXXI museum in Rome (2013). Since 2011 he has been TA and then teacher at various research studios in PUC, and has been part of the team of the exhibition From Abstract to Concrete, at the Gonzalez & Gonzalez gallery in Santiago (2012), Cool War Cool Digital at the Pratt Institute in New York (2013), Panel at the Architectural Association in London (2014), and Monolith Controversies, Chilean pavilion at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, awarded with the Silver Lion for national participations.

Estación Atacama UC - Alto Patache - Iquique

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If you have any questions please contact us at info [at] universalprojects [dot] net

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