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Architecture Guide to Medellín: 20 Places that Every Architect Should Visit

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.

MAMM extension/ Ctrl-G + 51-1 Arquitectos. Image © Manuela BonillaNew office of the Urban Development Company/ EDU - Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín. Image © Alejandro Arango Plaza de Cisneros / Juan Manuel Peláez Freidel + Luís Fernando Peláez. Image © Juan Manuel Peláez FreidelCivic Centre Liberty Plaza / OPUS + Toroposada Arquitectos. Image © Sergio Gómez + 21

The 10 Best Global* Architecture Projects of 2016 (*Asia, Africa and South America Not Excluded)

As the common phrase attests, “history is written by the victors.” We therefore know that the story of the West is that of Europe and the United States, while the other actors in world history are minimized or invisible: it happened to the Chinese and Japanese during World War II, to the Ottoman Empire in sixteenth-century Europe, and to racial majorities in the common reading of Latin American independence. The same thing happens in architecture.

The current boom of the Global South is based not only on new work, but rather on the recognition of an invisible architecture which was apparently not worthy of publication in the journals of the 1990s. The world stage has changed, with the emergence of a humanity that is decentralized yet local; globalized, yet heterogeneous; accelerated, yet unbalanced. There are no longer red and blue countries, but a wide variety of colors, exploding like a Pollock painting.

This serves as a preamble to consider the outstanding projects of 2016 according to the British critic Oliver Wainwright, whose map of the world appears to extend from New York in the West to Oslo in the East, with the exception of Birzeit in Palestine. The Global South represents more than 40% of the global economy and already includes most of the world’s megacities, yet has no architecture worthy of recognition? We wanted to highlight the following projects in order to expand the western-centric world view, enabling us to truly comprehend the extent of architectural innovation on a global scale.

UVA El Paraiso / EDU - Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín

© Víctor García© Julian E.Gómez© Víctor García© Julian E.Gómez+ 44

San Antonio de Prado, Colombia
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  3879
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2015
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Metalux, Benito Urban, Bocanumenth Castaño, Ecoarea, Explanan, +2