Architectural Design Workshop — The Sky Commodified: Observatories, Big-data, and Astro-tourism in the Atacama Desert

Permission of instructor

This workshop will study the architecture of observatories, the technological lens through which we observe, and the impacts of this technology on the territory it occupies. We will travel to the world’s largest radio telescope array in the Atacama Desert, a region currently expanding from an economy predominantly centered on mining to one that is increasingly hosting global astronomy facilities. MIT Students will partner with Chilean filmmakers, astronomers and local sky-guides to study the astro-industry; the economic and political context as well as the infrastructure built around the various observatories. Through architectural proposals, students will speculate on the consequences of the new identity for the region and the rise of tourism it has caused. The medium of the workshop will be film, the methodology will be narrative, and the outcome will be a documentary-fiction. Please refer to attached workshop brief for more information.


January 5-25: San Pedro de Atacama
January 5-11:
site visits, interviews, filming & sound recording
January 12-25:
film editing workshop with Francisco Lobo, additional filming as required
January 25 - February 3:
Follow up work at MIT
February 8:
Review at MIT, rough cut screening
Film Screening at MIT in the Spring


  • Maya Shopova, Teaching Fellow MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA;
  • Romea Muryn, Adjunct Professor Chulalongkorn University (INDA) Bangkok, Thailand;
  • Francisco Lobo, Film Director, Cinematographer (Anexo 82 production company), Portugal/Thailand;


  • Francisco Lobo, Film Director, Cinematographer, Portugal/Thailand;
  • Diego Cabezas, Cinematographer, Chile;
  • Dubi Cano Reyes, Film Director, Chile;
  • Anexo 82, Production Company, Portugal