In 2010, the town of Gramalote in Colombia was destroyed by a catastrophic mudslide, triggered by heavy rainfall and a series of small earthquakes. Now the town is being rebuilt from scratch in a new location, and the government has introduced architectural competitions for the town's major public buildings, including a high school, sports center, a cultural center, a public market, an elderly home and a farmer center.
Architects Rodrigo Chain and Jheny Nieto have shared their winning design for the New Gramalote Market Plaza with us, a structure of 15 concrete modules that occupies a steeply sloping site. Read on after the break for more on the design.
The concrete modules which shelter the structure transform seamlessly from column to roof, creating a cluster of funnels which collect rainwater, which is then used for irrigation. The plaza is enclosed by a separate structure of locally made clay bricks, which creates a permeable barrier for activity within the market to leak out onto the generous public spaces surrounding the building.
There are entrances to the market at both the upper and lower levels. At the lower entrance, a large open space provides enough room for seasonal farmers' markets, gastronomic events and other cultural activities. The market accommodates the steeply sloping site with a zig-zagging path that connects the two entrances with a more gentle gradient, an approach which avoids costly excavation of the site.
LocationGramalote, North Santander, Colombia
Design TeamRodrigo Chain, Jheny Nieto