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MACONDO Pavilion Architecture / Manuel Villa Arquitectos + Oficina Informal

© Santiago Pinyol © Santiago Pinyol © Santiago Pinyol © Santiago Pinyol

The Mayor Who Used Small Steps to Transform Bogotá for the Better

In a recent article for The New York Times Antanas Mockus, the former Mayor of Bogotá who served two terms in office between 1995 and 2003, discusses what he learnt to be "the art of changing a city." Mockus, a professor of philosophy by vocation, was at times pressured to wear a bullet-proof vest — which he wore with a heart-shaped hole cut over his chest as a "symbol of confidence, or defiance, for nine months." His article discusses how his government tackled Bogotá's "chaotic and dangerous" traffic through a thumbs-up, thumbs-down card system performed by mimes, how they dealt with water shortages, and how they persuaded 63,000 households to voluntarily pay 10% more tax.

RSHP Unveils Plans for Two Tower Development in Bogotá

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has unveiled a massive commercial development planned for central Bogotá. The mixed-use project, ATRIO will be comprised of a 200-meter North Tower and 268-meter South Tower that will be connected by a large, open public space that will take up two thirds of the project’s site in the area of Centro Internacional on Avenida El Dorado and Avenida Caracas.

“The clients brief was not only to deliver class office accommodation but also to create a new public space at the heart of the city. The project is a really exciting opportunity to contribute to the resurgence of a civic society in Bogota,” says Simon Smithson, Partner and lead designer at RSHP.

Conolove / Oficina Informal

© Santiago Pinyol © Santiago Pinyol © Santiago Pinyol © Santiago Pinyol

Camber of Commerce Building in Chapinero / Daniel Bonilla Arquitectos

  • Architects: Daniel Bonilla Arquitectos
  • Location: Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
  • Design Team: Daniel Bonilla, Juliana Lozano, Pedro Pulido, Seir Amaya, Alexander Roa, Adriana Hernández, Álvaro Acosta, Mauricio Morales, Oscar Montenegro, David Córdoba, Juan Andrés Díaz
  • General Management: Gerencia de proyectos Cámara de Comercio
  • Project Area: 11436.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs: Rodrigo Dávila, Sergio Gómez, Juan Silva

© Rodrigo Dávila © Rodrigo Dávila © Sergio Gómez © Sergio Gómez

University of Los Andes Public Space and Integrated Care Center / Daniel Bonilla Arquitectos

  • Architects: Daniel Bonilla Arquitectos
  • Location: Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
  • Design Team: Eduardo Varela, María Paula Gonzales Bozzi, Alexander Roa, Nicolás Mujica
  • General Management: Daniel Bonilla
  • Project Area: 1560.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Rodrigo Dávila

© Rodrigo Dávila © Rodrigo Dávila © Rodrigo Dávila © Rodrigo Dávila

From Bogotá to Bombay: How the World's 'Village-Cities' Facilitate Change

Perched behind the fog that conceals Bogotá’s mountains is William Oquendo’s house. It is a labyrinth of doors and windows, wherein a bedroom opens into the kitchen and a bathroom vents out into the living room.

Five thousand 5,000 kilometers away in Rio de Janeiro, Gilson Fumaça lives on the terrace level of a three-story house built by his grandfather, his father, and now himself. It’s sturdy; made out of brick and mortar on the ground floor, concrete on the second, and a haphazard combination of zinc roof tiles and loose bricks on the third. The last is Gilson’s contribution, which he will improve as his income level rises.

On the other side of the world in Bombay (Mumbai since 1995), houses encroach on the railway tracks, built and rebuilt after innumerable demolition efforts. “The physical landscape of the city is in perpetual motion,” Suketu Mehta observes in ‘Maximum City.’ Shacks are built out of bamboo sticks and plastic bags; families live on sidewalks and under flyovers in precarious homes constructed with their hands. And while Dharavi—reportedly the largest slum in Asia—has better quality housing, running water, electricity and secure land tenure, this is not the case for most of the new migrants into the city.

CR House / H+H Arquitectos

  • Architects: H+H Arquitectos
  • Location: Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
  • Project Architects: Eric Halliday, Martin Halliday
  • Project Area: 711.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photography: Rodrigo Dávila

© Rodrigo Dávila © Rodrigo Dávila © Rodrigo Dávila © Rodrigo Dávila

Click Clack Hotel / Plan B Arquitectos

  • Architects: Plan B Arquitectos
  • Location: Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
  • Project Architects: Felipe Mesa, Federico Mesa
  • Project Area: 4500.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photography: Andrés Valbuena, Santiago Pyniol

© Andrés Valbuena © Santiago Pyniol © Andrés Valbuena © Andrés Valbuena

Santa María de los Caballeros Chapel / MGP Arquitectura y Urbanismo

  • Architects: MGP Arquitectura y Urbanismo
  • Location: Calle 165 N.8A -50 Bogotá, Colombia
  • Architect in Charge: Felipe González-Pacheco Mejía, Álvaro Bohórquez Rivero
  • Design Team: María Andrea Díaz, Laura Caicedo, Uriel Rivera, María Francisca Echeverri, Camilo Correa, Santiago Suarez.
  • Area: 1695.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Andrés Valbuena

© Andrés Valbuena © Andrés Valbuena © Andrés Valbuena © Andrés Valbuena

Embassy of Ecuador / Arquiteck & Asociados

  • Architects: Arquiteck & Asociados
  • Location: Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
  • Architect in Charge: Pablo Rodríguez Agudelo, Mónica Botello Agudelo, David Diaz Diaz, Daniel Giraldo Rivera, Julian Sossa Delgado, Jair Pinzon Hernández, Diego Origua Petrel.
  • Project Area: 772.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photography: Andrés Valvuena

© Andrés Valvuena © Andrés Valvuena © Andrés Valvuena © Andrés Valvuena

Rodrigo Nino: In Defense of Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding

The 17John Building in New York. Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network
The 17John Building in New York. Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network

As both crowdsourcing and crowdfunding gather momentum in the architecture world, they also gather criticism. The crowdsourcing design website Arcbazar, for example, has recently attracted critics who label it as “the worst thing to happen to architecture since the internet started.” A few months ago, I myself strongly criticized the 17John apartment-hotel in New York for stretching the definition of "crowdfunding" to the point where it lost validity, essentially becoming a meaningless buzzword.

In response to this criticism, I spoke to Rodrigo Nino, the founder of Prodigy Network, the company behind 17 John, who offered to counter my argument. Read on after the break for his take on the benefits of tapping into the 'wisdom of crowds.'

Richard Meier Designs Two-Tower Residential Development for Bogota

North View. Image Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners
North View. Image Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners

Richard Meier & Partners has unveiled designs for their first project in Bogota: Vitrvm. Conceptualized as two towers united at the base, the new 13-story residential development will provide 36 apartments along Septima Avenue in the north section of the city. 

“The project is contextually inspired by the beauty of its immediate surroundings,” described the architects. “It aims to reflect and to engage the beautiful gardens and large trees at the Chico Park and the Seminario Mayor,” one of the largest and most important seminaries in Colombia.

Crowdfunding in Architecture: Game Changer or PR Game?

Building off of the success of their crowdfunded BD Bacatá building in Colombia, the real estate group Prodigy Network has announced a plan to bring this same funding method to New York, with an apartment hotel in Manhattan named 17 John.

The project, a glassy rooftop extension to the existing art deco building at 17 John Street, has much in common with Prodigy Network's past projects: the same funding method as their skyscraper in Bogotá as well as the same designer, Winka Dubbeldam, head of the New York practice Archi-Techtonics. Dubbeldam also previously helped them to crowdsource ideas for the future development of Bogotá in the "My Ideal City" project.

However, when applied to the USA, this funding paradigm - which is so promising in Colombia - becomes twisted beyond recognition. Upon close inspection, 17 John more resembles the standard developer's model than anything else - and the claims of ethical superiority begin to melt away. 

Winka Dubbeldam: "My Ideal City" of the Future

Winka Dubbeldam believes there is power in the people. 

As a public intellectual, she has invested her efforts in researching the concept of "bottom-up" and "systems" design at academic institutions like Columbia, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania - where she now serves as chair of the department of architecture. As principal of the New York-based firm, Archi-Tectonics, she demonstrates how these concepts work in both theory and practice. 

In between the consistent cadence of client meetings and academic functions, Winka has been vocal about the future of cities, traveling overseas and giving TED Talks. Her most recent project revolves around a bilingual website, Mi Ciudad Ideal (My Ideal City), which has led her to Bogotá, Colombia where she is leading efforts to crowdsource and document the opinions of hundreds of thousands of urban residents in hopes to better understand what makes the "Ideal City." ArchDaily recently caught up with Winka to discuss the project's foundation and how it works. 

Latin America's Top 8 Smart Cities

In this article for Fast Company, Boyd Cohen counts down the top 8 smart cities in Latin America. Using publicly available data and his own comprehensive framework to evaluate how smart a city is, he has generated a list which even he admits features a couple of surprises in the top spots. To see the list and discover what each city has achieved to deserve its ranking, you can read the full article here.

El Fabuloso / MEMA arquitectos + Colette Studio

  • Architects: MEMA arquitectos
  • Location: Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
  • Collaboration: Colette Studio
  • Area: 420.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Mauricio Mendoza

© Mauricio Mendoza © Mauricio Mendoza © Mauricio Mendoza © Mauricio Mendoza