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Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador

Master Dissertation individual project (2 persons max)
2023 2024
Aerial view from Gualsinga, Chalatenango

Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador
memorials and musea

Gualsinga, site visit in April 2022

This project frames in the Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador collaborative research initiative, an international partnership of survivors, scholars, artists, lawyers, museums, architects, community organizers, municipal governments, civil society organizations and mental health professionals who are committed to documenting the history of the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992) and preventing future violence.


The master dissertation studio addresses a series of ongoing architectural projects in El Salvador. Some of them are under construction, others in an advanced design stage, and others still are in the starting blocks. These projects are coordinated by the Asociacion Sumpul, a grassroots organization of survivors of massacres in the Chalantenango province.

For your master dissertation, we will discuss on which projects you want to participate. Indeed, you could choose to work on a project that is already in execution phase and on another in preliminary design phase. This diversity makes it possible to address very different issues, ranging from conceptual approaches to applied tectonics and participatory processes. Your work is embedded in an practice environment, including exchanges with the architecture office AgwA and possibly with international and Salvadoran stakeholders. Hence, some knowledge of Spanish is recommended.

Laguna Seca, site visit, January 2023


The projects include :

Las Aradas Memorial Park (2017-…) : construction site pase

Aracatao Historic Memory Museum : (2021-…) definitive design phase

Las Vueltas Historic Memory Museum (2021-…) definitive design phase

Laguna Seca memorial site (2021-…) : definitive design pase

Gualsinga Memorial site (2021-…) : on hold due to administrative reasons

Casa de la Memoria San José Las Flores (2023-…) : start preliminary design

Comunidad Segundo Montes Morazán (2023-…) : start preliminary design

Guinda de Mayo memorial site (2023-…) : start preliminary design

MUPI museum extension in San Salvador (2023-…) : start preliminary design

(more information www.agwa.be)

Las Aradas Memorial Site, construction site, May 2023



Elective Conjectural Architecture – Surviving Memory

The dissertation are articulated to an elective in the first semester – you can combine the participation to the elective and the master dissertation.


Study trip

The Master Dissertation students may be invited to participate in a field trip to El Salvador before the start of the second semester. This is to be confirmed according the coordination with the local communities and organizations. The cost of local transportation, catering and housing is covered. Some knowledge of Spanish is recommended.



The output is double.

First, a thematic reflection relates to the project and your own field of interest, including bibliographical material (this can be very diverse). It can address constructive and symbolic aspects, historic and socio-political issues, participative and architectural design processes etc. according to your own approach and field of interest.

Second, the design output is project specific. It will consist of drawings, scale models, plans, sections, 3d models and any other means relevant to the projects. It is also process-related. In this sense, a series of sketches or constructive details may be very relevant too.

The output of the elective will be used as experimentation ground and preliminary study for the development of the projects. If applicable, credits will be duly mentioned if documents from the dissertation are to be published.