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A Structure For Metropolitan Activities In Suba (estructura De Actividades Metropolitanas En Suba)

Part 2 Project 2001
Natalia Carolina Villamizar Duarte
National University of Colombia, Bogotá Bogotá Colombia
Bogotá has developed a process of metropolization, which means that it has expanded beyond its administrative borders. In this process of growing, Bogotá has integrated former rural areas that are now peripheral fabrics. Suba is one of those annexed territories, whose approximate population is about 700,000 inhabitants.

The thesis is aimed to search for a new way to construct the city in those peripheral areas, undefined interstices of the border between rural and urban areas, marginalized, excluded, and with deficient urban infrastructure. The project is an architectural-urban exercise alternative to the way the city has been constructed. It proposes a a permanent dialogue between architecture and urbanism.

The project is a linear urban-architectural structure, which offers an architectural form to the transversal de Suba, high way which is one of the main vehicular axis of Suba’s territory. It connects this locality with the rest of Bogotá.

We depart from a study and discussion of the manzana –blocks-, the morphological unit of the cities founded by the Spaniards in Latin America. We take the manzana and its dimensions as the main urban form. We are interested to understand and represent the metropolitan complexity and its multiplicity of activities, making an analogy between architecture and metropolis.

At the architectural level, the project develops a housing area as a portion of the entire urban project. We reinterpret the “cloister” –claustro- typology to conceptualize and propose a housing block -manzana. One of the main objectives of the project is to integrate the city, the public space, local urban activities and housing, in a proposal of a vertical or high rise city.

Natalia Carolina Villamizar Duarte

The new fields the authors explore are:

1- The work links three scales of design, which are normally conceived as separated processes:

- The design of an urban structure at a level of a sector of the city.

- The design of an urban project of intermediate scale.

- The design of an architectural project at a block (manzana) scale.

In the purpose to INTEGRATE DIFFERENT SPATIAL SCALES, the project achieves an outstanding result.

2- The thesis explores aspects of urban planning that are currently under debate, which gives the research an updated and innovative level. The work FORMALIZES A GENERAL URBAN SYSTEM, knowing that these attempts are usually left at an abstract normative level, and that it has always been a challenge for architects to surmount the divorce between this discipline and urban planning. In the same direction, the thesis explores an area of knowledge that is still developing in Colombia: The Integrality of the Urban Action (Law 388 of 1997). The project includes the superposition of activities as diverse as housing, commerce, cultural activities, and other facilities, attempting to Shape the City, and goes beyond the segmented thinking promoted by traditional architecture and the former body of laws.

3- The thesis engages the architectural scale in a coherent and diverse way, considering it from contemporary spatial dimensions: heterogeneity, mutability, massive information and communication, to the point of introducing an original pedestrian scale of high quality. The thesis takes as a point of departure Le Corbousier´s proposal of housing unity of Marsella, Archigram´s pedestrian approaches, and Rem Koolhaas’ architectural ideas, achieving a theoretical compound (which needs to be further developed) about the high density housing. In summary, the thesis opens an important field of research.

4- The work proposes a new alternative to the housing units, making it a point of reference and discussion in future thesis and works. It adopts the blocks, traditional basic urban units of Suba´s urban fabric, the “high rise neighborhoods” of Modern Architecture, the “closed and dense blocks” currently offered by the real estate market in Suba, the current research on “open blocks” by C. de Portzamparc in Paris, to the proposal that this thesis takes the risk to submit –still in a preliminary level of development-, and which the authors call module to inhabit.

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