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Barranquilla, Colombia

Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo & ETH

from Zürich

Authors of contest

Architecture: Urban Think Tank

Director: Alfredo  Brillembourg & Hubert Klumpner

Coordinator: Diego Ceresuela Wiesmann

Team ETH Zürich

Arno Schlueter, Philippe Block, Gerhard Schmitt, Rudi Bauer, Lea Ruefenacht, Marie Grob, Sofia Avramopoulou, Jimeno Fonseca, Prageeth Jayathissa, David Lopez, Marcel Aubert, Tomas Mendez E, Marta Domènech


As a researcher at the Zurich ETH, we had started the Culture Factory project in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla (Colombia) among several Swiss research groups. The project was sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank and is proposed within the Sustainable Cities of Latin America program that aims to boost the growth of small and medium-sized cities on the continent. At the beginning we found a general plan financed by the bank on the verge of being approved that had to demolish much of the existing structures in the center of the city - much degraded sociality and materially - to build a new city of isolated towers, excepting some colonial buildings with patrimonial value. Our proposal subverts this idea and proposes to maintain and reactivate the existing structures of this abandoned middle school.

Most of these buildings are unoccupied or informally occupied armed skeletons.
The project proposes an Open Building system to reappropriation of these structures with functional modules arranged on the floor, leaving the air circulated on all four sides; a plant where these units are arranged in such a way that it reminds the floor of the project of the church of St. Basil of Moscow (1561). But unlike having a perimeter wall, the building that was proposed would have semi-narrow facades and an occupation and tension between the pieces of the non-hierarchical plant and which would eventually strengthen over time.


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