Bogotá’s public architecture restores civic prideThe Art Dossier on July 12, 2012 with 0 Comments
Bogotá was once a city known for its drugs and terrorism but its recent cultural transformation has been slowly restoring residents’ civic pride.
Daniel Bermudez Samper, architect, along with the leadership of Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, have transformed a former garbage processing plant into a public library where it is currently visited by thousands of people each day. Samper kept and reused the processing plant’s ramp and nave to create a “ceremonial entry” connected to a park and a reading room. More than just a library, it’s a community center and a safe haven for many who traveled across town just to find a book.
Another structure that is a retreat for residents is the Jardin el Porvenir kindergarten designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti. The construction for the entire building costs less than $1.2 million and with the tight budget Mazzanti had to come up with a design that looked grand and was practical and functional. The solution was using angled pods connected to ramps, balconies and stairs to create “open spaces and overlapping vistas” for children to explore and congregate.
“Mr. Mazzanti has talked about architecture pushing children toward discovery, inspiring patterns of thinking and behavior. The school’s layout, taking advantage of daylight and shade, with brightly painted floors that temper the austerity of concrete and glass, creates a mix of tranquillity, serendipity and openness. It’s a laboratory for exploration and play.”
These public structures perform more than their proposed duties, they provide relief to the residents. Urban planner and architect Lorenzo Castro says, “People in the neighborhood live in a room with five people in a small house with three other families, but they go there and see the space, the construction, the comfort and safety, and suddenly, maybe for the first time, they feel included in society, in the city. They can dream.”