Medellin’s renaissance is one for architecture’s storybooks. After decades of mundane violence, the city today is not only (comparatively) peaceful but a world-class architectural hub. Indeed, many cite the city’s urban development as a factor in its rebirth. But Medellin’s success sometimes overshadows that of neighbouring (and capital) city, Bogota.
With nearly 100,000 votes cast during the last two weeks, we are happy to present the winners of the 2018 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards. This peer-based, crowdsourced architecture award showcases projects chosen by ArchDaily readers who filtered thousands of projects down to the 15 best works featured on ArchDaily in 2017.
In 2013, Medellín (Colombia) was declared the most innovative city in the world as part of the City of the Year Competition, organized by the Wall Street Journal. It competed alongside metropolises like New York and Tel Aviv.
Although it may seem strange, this distinction is not so out there. The Antioquian capital has become one of the most advanced technological and intellectual epicenters in Colombia, not to mention the important urban development that has occurred in the city since the beginning of 2010.
The city’s mobility-orientated integrated infrastructure together with interventions of high social impact have turned Medellín into the center of the debate on the growth and development of Latin American cities.
In the following 20 projects, tell you the story of a city that bet on urban consolidation through quality public spaces and projects that encouraged citizen management by supporting the development of marginalized areas in a process of social reconstruction, where architecture has played an important role as a spatial formulation tool.
Bringing the weather inside is usually the opposite of what you want from a building envelope. However, new research from the University of Oregon, described in an article by The Washington Post, aims to show the physical and psychological benefits of letting nature inside. Signs of nature and change are both beneficial to our well-being, yet we don’t always have access to them when inside buildings—and humans are now spending 90% of our lives inside. But even in an urban setting, where nature may be hard to come by, there’s no escaping the weather. When researchers found ways to bring things like wind and dappled reflections of the sun inside, they found that exposure to these natural movements lowered heart rates, while being less distracting than similar artificially generated movements.
By now, green buildings are a familiar concept, but the article in The Washington Post proposes moving beyond green buildings as we know them today. While green building can be great in new construction, that excludes a lot of existing buildings that could and should also benefit from an intervention of nature. Ideally, buildings should actively demonstrate their relationship with nature, moving beyond simply “doing no harm.”
In the Colombian city of Medellin, a new headquarters is being constructed for the Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano (Urban Development Company), combining optimal thermal performance with local urban regeneration. The new EDU headquarters is the result of a three-part collaboration between the public company, the private sector, and Professor Salmaan Craig from the Harvard Graduate School of Design who has family roots in the Colombian capital.
Constructed on the site of the former EDU headquarters on San Antonio Park, the scheme aims to act as a benchmark for sustainable public buildings in Medellin, embracing the mantra of “building that breath."
As a specialist in materials, thermal design, and building physics, Professor Craig (EngD) voluntarily offered his service to the scheme’s realization. Below, he explains the thermodynamic challenges behind the building’s conception.