Número 138 V-VI 2011 
18 €



Mosaic Colombia. Though barely over ten years ago it was suffering from severe problems that seemed to have no solution, today Colombia is optimistic. The coordinated action of the different administrations, along with a strengthened civic conscience, have substantially changed the previous situation, a transformation to which architecture, understood as a tool for urban regeneration, has contributed decisively. In this context, the new generations of architects practice networking and collaborate with prominent figures, heirs to a singular modernity that is now producing social profits.


José Ramón Moreno
Shared Heritage
Colombian Modernity
Silvia Arango
The Place of the Public Realm
A Country and Three Geographies
Miguel Mesa
Exploration Fields
The New Generations

Works / Projects

Social Calling. Colombia is a country with a rich variety of landscapes in which several generations of architects coexist. This geographic and temporary complexity is able, however, to emphasize the defining feature that characterizes all of its recent architecture: social sensibility. Six projects provide examples of it: two complex for sports in Medellín, conceived as interventions to regenerate mature urban areas; two cultural facilities, located in Medellín and Bogotá, designed to revitalize a series of poor urban spaces; and finally, two unique works located in the Antiochian capital: a kindergarten and the Metrocable infrastructure, paradigmatic works because their objective is to reclaim traditionally marginal areas for the city.


Plan:b / Mazzanti
Sports Colosseums, Medellín
Paisajes Emergentes
Aquatics Center, Medellín
Ana E. Vélez y Lorenzo Castro
Botanical Garden, Medellín
Daniel Bonilla
University Building, Bogotá
Ctrl G / Federico Mesa
Kindergarten, Medellín
Echeverri, Rodríguez, Montoya
Metrocable and PUI, Medellín

Art / Culture

Two Masters of Crafts. The exhibition devoted to Jean Prouvé at the Ivorypress gallery in Madrid coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the travelling theater of the brilliant and prematurely deceased Emilio Pérez Piñero.


Jorge Sainz
Industrial Elegance
M. Cámara y F. González
Utopian Mechanics

From New York to Venice. Two views on art: the poetics of destruction through the gaze of Francesc Torres on the remains of 9/11; and that of the market, presented in the colossal art exhibition of the Venice Biennale.
Francesc Torres
Rubble of Memory
Richard Ingersoll
In the Babel of Art
The Triumph of the City. Luis Fernández-Galiano reviews a unique praise of urban density written by Edward Glaeser. Moreover, texts about expressionism, South American modernity and the architecture of ruins.
Focho's Cartoon
Various Authors
Technique / Construction

Innovation in Detail. The new Interactive Museum of History in Lugo , by Nieto & Sobejano, opens the section devoted to technological innovation, which also includes an article about the creative relationship between architects and manufacturers in the development of frameworks, the third in a series of six on lightweight facades. Furthermore, an article on the use of bamboo in architecture and a catalog of products, classified by theme, which presents some of the novelties on the market, such as green walls, industrialized rotomoulding systems, ecological insulation types, new applications for materials and ceramic systems, and a repertoire of products received.


Nieto & Sobejano
History Museum of Lugo
Paricio & Pardal
Imagined Frameworks
In short

To close, an article that takes stock of the 9/11 attacks in the light of the political, economic and cultural events that have taken place afterwards.
Luis Fernández-Galiano
Zero plus Ten


Luis Fernández-Galiano
Mosaic Colombia

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The transformation of Colombia is both inspiring and convincing. After a somber era marked by guerrillas, paramilitaries and narcoterrorism, the last decade has delivered a new country, and with it an architecture of stimulating liveliness. Everything is excessive in the cradle of García Márquez and Botero, and excessive is also its dizzying transition from the news pages to the culture sections, driven by the presidency of Uribe, but also by exemplary mayors like Sergio Fajardo in Medellín, a city that has become a symbol of this rebirth. Barely twenty years ago, the capital of Antioquia was associated above all to Pablo Escobar and his drug cartel, and those of us who visited the country then thought that the most genuine voice of that place and that time was paradoxically the exiled Fernando Vallejo, whom from Mexico – like Álvaro Mutis, who for very different reasons also sought residence there – praised his ‘mala patria’ (bad country) with his musical, resentful and unmistakable prose. But today Medellín has moved, as its charismatic mayor wanted, ‘from fear to hope’, and works such as the Metrocable, the cultural facilities or the sports complex for the South American Games are at once instruments for social change and symbols of its strength: “the most educated”, as the wishful motto of the mayor read, has also been the most praised for its architecture.

This current boom does not start from scratch, because Colombia can take pride on a very rich and stratified building culture that favors continuity over rhetoric ruptures or generational disagreements, sometimes too present in its architectural debate. The great shadow of the late Rogelio Salmona still falls upon the professional scene of Bogotá and the rest of the country, and even those who claim to be immune to his influence have also watered – like Le Corbusier’s disciple – in the fountains of the European avant-garde, in the end sharing the same receptive spirit to the ideas and forms of their time. Close to Spain for many reasons, from the colonial roots to the contemporary popularity of singers like Carlos Vives, Juanes or Shakira, the Colombia of coffee, emeralds and flowers is now also the Colombia of architecture, and in the 2010 presidential elections we followed closely the campaign of the mayors of Bogotá and Medellín, both mathematicians and both with a fine record of promoting urban projects as tools for civic renewal. Fifty years ago Medellín witnessed the emergence of a nihilist literary movement, inspired by Existentialism and Dadaism, which received the eloquent name of ‘nadaísmo’ (nothing-ism); the generous ambition of today’s Colombia has celebrated the anniversary establishing the ‘todoísmo’ (everything-ism) in Bucaramanga.