Architects: EDU Medellín
Location: Medellín, Colombia
Design Team: Juan Mejia, Gustavo Adolfo Restrepo, John Octavio Ortiz, Alejandra Gomez, Maria Elena Arango, Adolfo Emilio Arboleda, Julian Yepes, Isabel Mejia, Alba Milena Garcia, Diego Alberto Serna, Victor Hugo Garcia, Jerónimo Franco, Jose Puentes, Andres Montoya, Gustavo Ramirez
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of EDU Medellín
Project Area: 2,535 sqm
Builder: Carlos Vengal Perez
Security Buildings – Sustainable Architecture
Public facilities have played a leading role in Medellin’s transformation process because they have become URBAN REFERENCES that change and provide a sense of belonging in the territories where they are set. The Security and Coexistence program implemented by Mayor Alonzo Salazar’s administration (2008 – 2011), decided to build a fort for the Carabineros (Mounted Police Division), a building strategically located in one of the City’s Environmental Parks, high on the mountain slopes, called Arvi. This building is a key item in the development of this area as a future public space for the city because it will provide environment of security and coexistence and will make it possible to establish very close relationships among the community, the state and the environment.
These buildings were designed on the basis of the community’s imagination. This makes it possible to recover and reinforce a positive image of the POLICE and the STATE in territories that are going through development processes. This physical investment also involves social programs with comprehensive security and coexistence policies aimed at achieving an integrated transformation of the city.
Project overall concept
The project is located in an area designated as a forest reserve. The aim is to establish a new balance built into the landscape where the building is no longer a protagonist but instead, becomes part of the landscape.
On an available 7,700 m2 property, the program consists of public, semi-public and private spaces which act as a border, and create an open interior space for training activities for fifty horses and ten dogs.
The project is a ‘living building’, friendly with the environment and its rural surroundings, to produce positive feelings and emotions on those who experience it.
We are proposing a modular architecture with a geometry influenced by the traditional buildings found in the area. The nine buildings that make up the complex respond to two basic building blocks. The first one is a colored metallic skin on the outside that provides protection and image, and recycled wood inside that gives warmth to the space. The second is a concrete element that makes up the internal spaces which, like boxes, are inserted into the skin. The building’s various functions are located there.
The project proposes encouraging a rapprochement between the National Police and the community with an open, friendly image, turning public and institutional buildings into beacons that drive the local centralities and create a sense of belonging.
Components for sustainability
A basic principle for the creation of the projects is to design sustainable buildings that leverage the natural conditions and resources of the places where they are set.
Thus, we have created different strategies that have enabled us to conceive and build a Public Architecture that is aware of the environment. The sustainability criteria that have made this project our main reference in the urban and environmental transformation are listed below.
- Bio-climatic component
The architectural design meets the criteria for bioclimatic architecture with special attention to issues of solar control, solar radiation, natural ventilation, natural and artificial lighting, acoustics and ergonomics. This drives the proper placement of openings, lamps, blinds, closures and vegetation that represent immediate energy savings.
- Component for rational management of drinking water
In order to rationalize and control the use of drinking water, a 25,000 L tank was installed to turn the facilities into autonomous settings and to make conscientious use of this resource.
- Component to use rain water
To aid the sustainability of this complex, there is a 21,000 L tank to collect rain water for use in green area maintenance, cleaning outside areas, and flushing the sanitary network.
- Component for natural treatment of wastewater
A network will collect wastewater and carry it to a system set up with an artificial wetland which, with the aid of the proper flora. The purpose is to treat wastewater, reduce its impact on the natural system surrounding the complex and define its autonomy because there is no public sewer system in the area.
- Component to use organic materials
With the production of dung derived from the use of the complex, there is a bio digester that will transform this organic waste into methane gas which will provide autonomy in energy to prepare food in the kitchen.
- Component for using non conventional energy sources
With the available solar radiation, solar panels have been installed to store and heat water use in the showers and in the restaurant kitchen.
- Component for using recycled materials
Recycled materials from other industrial processes will be used, such as the exterior metal sheets and the interior compressed wood chips, called O.S.B. The laminated wood beams for the deck will be made from wood tablets using natural resins subjected to heat.
- Component for community participation
Arrangements have been made to use unskilled labor with experience in construction that live in the project’s area of influence, through the establishment of work groups led by the most widely recognized members of the community and organized by social professionals from the E.D.U.