Sol y Sombra 2021 / Human Movement: from Shadow Policies to Shadow Ecologies

Summer Course 2021

Sol y Sombra: the Orinoco River

Mapping Shadow Policies to Shadow Ecologies

Supported by Umeå School of Architecture

Led by architects and urbanists Alejandro Haiek and Xenia Adjoubei
in collaboration with Tomas Mena & Luis Pimentel

In Partnership with Fundación Espacio & Department of Design + Architecture, Simon Bolivar University, Venezuela

Shown at the 17th International Architecture Biennale in Venice / SpecialEvent 7th September 2021 as part of the Global Free
Unit Programme at the Future School Pavilion

Cesar Barbaran
Ellinor Bolt
Vitor Coelho
Santiago Dominguez
Ludvig Dovberg
Claudia Durre
Augusta Fišerytė
Andrea Horn
Mauro Izarra
Beatriz Kolster
Hana Osman
Gabriel Valles
Cesar Andres Velando Garcia
Anastasia Niki Xenodochidi

The Orinoco river runs through the Venezuelan Amazon. It is the third largest river in the world, by water volume, and is invaluable in cultural significance, biodiversity and the variety of habitats: forests, plains, wetlands. It brings freshwater, clean air and arable land and runs through territories of vast reserves of gold, mercury, rare earths, oil, gas, and almost every other mineral or scarce resource known to man. The Orinoco River is an ecosystem driver, adverse effects on the Orinoco impact populations on a vast scale – on a planetary scale. 

The Orinoco is currently experiencing a complex set of economic, political, legal and illegal pressures, which are leading to increasing pollution of the river, mercury contamination, oil pills in the river’s delta, deforestation and irreversible damage to the surrounding natural environment and indigenous populations. There is little work being done to map and visualize what is going on, and it is a matter of urgency to draw attention to these issues. 

Building on the work of our 2020 Sol y Sombra Summer Course , we will use collective research and mapping to bring information together in an innovative way, to point out conflicts of interest and symbiotic relationships, in order to gain a deeper understanding of what is really happening in one of the most precious natural environments on our planet. We will chart the dangers the Orinoco and its inhabitants are facing and model how we might balance these out.

Invited Experts

Ricardo Avella, Urbanist & researcher, Amazon ecologies
Ethel Baraona, Critic, writer and curator / dpr-barcelona
Fabio Capra Ribeiro, PhD in Urbanism IUAV Venice / spatial & environmental justice
Juan Cristóbal Castro, Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso / extractivism as cultural phenomenon
Ana Maria Duran Calisto, Theorist and Doctoral Candidate UCLA / Yale School of Architecture
Eduardo Kairuz, Director, Global Extraction Observatory (GEO); Lecturer, Monash University
Liana Malva, Artist, musician, singer / Nature activism
Carmen Mendoza Arroyo, PhD in Urbanism, Assistant Director School of Architecture / UIC Barcelona
Franco Micucci, Head of the Department of Design & Architecture / Simón Bolívar University, Caracas
Karla Montauti, architect, artist, educator / Buenos Aires University
Eduardo Mouhtar, architect / Orinoco territorial researcher
Maria Isabel Pena, Architect, Former Director Instituto de Urbanismo / Central University of Venezuela
Jorge Perez Jaramillo, Senior Consultant to the World Bank, Former Head of Planning, Medellin
Nicolas Valencia, writer and thinker, editor and data manager of ArchDaily platform
Luis Romero, Artist / Contemporary Art Curator. Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe: arte y contexto. Alto Orinoco
Cristina Vollmer de Burelli, Founder, SOS Orinoco / Founding Co-Chair, The Global Leaders Program / Founding Executive Director V5 Initiative

Our Partners:

Department of Urban Planning, Central University of Venezuela (FAU UCV)
Department of Urban Planning, Simon Bolivar University
Fundación Espacio, Venezuela

Skills You Will Gain on the Course

The Sol y Sombra research project is led by Alejandro Haiek and Xenia Adjoubei, architects with experience in teaching, social and cultural projects in Latin America, Russia and the UK, supported by a team of researchers across three continents. The course will touch on radical cartographies, analyze value systems; such as ecosystem services, the wealth economy, embedded carbon footprint and slavery supply chains. We will analyze and map the relationships between biodiversity, human labor exploitation, geo-economics and the value of clean natural resources such as freshwater and oxygen. The output of the course will be a set of large complex drawings and models which will present these interrelations combining latest data modeling techniques, input from leading experts, the analysis of historic information and first-hand contemporary narratives.

Summer Course Leaders

Director, Lab.Pro.Fab., founder, The Public Machinery

Alejandro Haiek

Architect & Studio Leader at Umeå School of Architecture, Sweden. Receiving honors in Architectural Design, Master of Sciences, at the Central University of Venezuela, his research examines the relations between public landscapes, post-industrial ecologies and Network Governance, resulting in projects for social innovation that integrate science, culture and local intelligences


Xenia Adjoubei

Architect & educator. Leads design projects in education and culture, curates a design think-tank in the largest art park in Europe, the Nikola-Lenivets Art Park, which explores the New Rural condition, how collective art sustains communities, new labor economies and the natural resources of the future


full application details here /
non EU applicants please contact us directly

Selection among the applicants is based on submitted work samples / portfolio and motivation letter.
Please send in a digital portfolio and motivation letter to Umeå School of Architecture  with “SUMMERCOURSE” followed by your name in the subject line.

Applications deadline has been extended!

Your portfolio should contain a selection of projects that display and communicate your capabilities and skills in architecture. It should show your working process, how you develop your ideas, as well as your ability to reflect critically about your work and its social, political and ethical dimensions.
Include a short description of the context in which each work has been produced (eg assignment, requirements, prerequisites, etc.).


Your portfolio must be submitted digitally as one (1) document in PDF format.
The file size may not exceed 10 Mb.
Your full name, e-mail address and application number must be stated on the first page of your portfolio.
Indicate if the work has been produced independently or in collaboration.
Specify if some of the work has been produced during an internship or while working as a professional.
Make sure to strictly follow the requirements above otherwise your application will be marked as ineligible.

Motivation Letter

You should submit a motivation letter where you state why you want to enroll in the course. The text should be maximum 400 words. Specify why you want to participate in the chosen workshops and in which order and how it is relevant for you and your development. The number of places in each workshop is limited. The motivation letter can be included in the beginning of your portfolio or submitted as a separate document.


Your digital portfolio and motivation letter must be sent by email directly to Umeå School of Architecture.
The portfolio e-mail address is . In the subject line, please write “SUMMERCOURSE” followed by your name.
Motivation letter / portfolio is to be sent in at latest the same day as the deadline to pay tuition fees or prove the right to exemption. For the Summer course 2021, the applications deadline has been extended.