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Bolivian Architecture Is Undergoing a Psychedelic Revolution

Architect Freddy Mamani Silvestre combines past and future in his "New Andean" architecture.
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Bolivian architect Freddy Mamani Silvestre sees the city of El Alto as a monochromatic panorama of geography and architecture. Over the last eight years, Mamani has been giving the city's buildings a decidedly psychedelic and even oddly futuristic appearance. Inspired by Bolivia’s indigenous Andean and Aymara culture, Mamani is all about odd combinations of geometry and color.

Great Big Story recently profiled Mamani’s “New Andean” architecture, which he believes empowers his culture with an identifiable style. What the documentary doesn’t mention, however, is that Mamani is building these structures as mansions for the burgeoning Aymaran trader class. That said, as The New Yorker notes, these buildings are mixed use, so they feature shops, entertainment spaces, apartments, and then their owners' penthouses.


Regardless of the financial origins of Mamani’s New Andean architecture, the man definitely has a knack for design. Odd window groupings rub up against even odder facades, while the interiors look like casinos colliding with carnivals.

Mamani’s structures won’t appeal to everyone, but it don’t call them kitschy. Wonderfully oddities, but aesthetically interesting ones nonetheless, and certainly as unique as Mamani claims. Take a look inside Mamani's work in the video below:

Click here to read more about Freddy Mamani Silvestre’s work.


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