Architecture of the Resistance: Contemporary Architecture in Paraguay

written by José Luis Uribe Ortiz


Paraguay is a landlocked country located in the middle of the South American continent, surrounded by the cultures of three other countries: Bolivia in the north, Brazil in the east and Argentina in the southeast, south and southwest. This particular location gives its culture an introspective character and an autonomy that seeks to distance itself from the countries that make up its margins. This encapsulation has manifested itself in a number of episodes of its history, such as the socialist insula of Doctor Francia during his time as national governor, the warlike attitude that led them to fight against neighbouring countries, or Stroessner's political confinement during Latin America's largest dictatorship. In terms of demographics, Paraguay has the lowest population compared to its Latin American peers, unevenly distributed, but in great part concentrated in the eastern region due to the inhospitable condition of the western region, characterized by its suffocating temperatures and dense jungle. In economic terms, according to Britez and Numan, Paraguay suffers the lowest Gross Domestic Product in Latin America. Transparency International considers it the most corrupt country on the continent and the second-most corrupt in the world. It has also become one of the poorest countries in Latin America. On a Latin American stage, Paraguay shows diminished conditions compared to the rest of the Latin American countries in geographical, political, demographic and economic aspects.

The geographic isolation, that plagues the country, has had repercussions on its various disciplinary aspects, leading to a constant exclusion of Paraguay.

2. Of Contemporary Paraguayan Architects

According to the books on the Latin American history and architectural theory, international architecture exhibitions, or biennials associated with the discipline, Paraguayan architecture has always been relegated to a low-priority or simply absent. Until a few decades ago, the Paraguayan works were not integrated into the architectural production of the Latin American context and there was no recognition of the unique way architecture is made in this country.