Mariana Restrepo Sierra

A love of the Sims computer game from an early age led to Mariana Restrepo Sierra’s passion for interiors and architecture.

Mariana Restrepo Sierra in front of graffiti

That passion saw her complete her Bachelor of Architectural Studies, majoring in Interior Architecture, at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, and she’s now studying for her Master of Interior Architecture.

Mariana’s Master’s thesis looks at how to use street art as the design driver for high-density housing built within existing public buildings.

“I am essentially looking at an architectural response to an artistic expression, and how it can be translated and inform the interior architecture of high-density housing,” says Mariana.

“I am basing my research in my home city—Medellin, Colombia—so it is very personal and I feel very passionately about the project. I have selected street art created by a particular community that has been through many hardships and use their street art as a way to express their painful memories and stories. There is a richness of culture in this community that is undeniable, and the art itself is quite beautiful. It is then exciting to consider how architecture can enable and interpret this art through materials and form.”

Mariana particularly enjoyed working with with her supervisor, Philippe Campays.

“Philippe is like a breath of fresh air! He is so understanding and encouraging, while also being very good at challenging ideas and pushing me to think further and more in depth. He is invested in what I am doing and seems genuinely excited about my work and ideas.

“My time at the Wellington School of Architecture has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It is really cool to be able to look back at past projects and see the growth and development of my work. This is such a supportive and creative programme to be involved in.”