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Four Plazas and A Street
Barranquilla


We have covered the works of Colombia-based Paisajes Emergentes before here, here and here. Yet another one is their Second Prize-winning submission, co-developed with Giancarlo Mazzanti Arquitectos, to an international competition which sought to reactivate the historic center of Barranquilla, Colombia.

Specifically, the competition called for the design of four plazas and a long pedestrian walkway. Two of the plazas had to be grafted onto empty spaces. The other two plazas and the walkway had to be built over existing built zones, though these are planned to be demolished.

In programming these spaces, Paisajes Emergentes took two different approaches. The team filled the voids with dense but porous vegetation. For the plantings at San Nicolás Square, they were inspired by the coconut groves growing along the coast and here, their soaring canopy and rhythmic trunks no doubt complement the cavernous spaces and lithic forest inside the church. A huge section of the plaza is left empty, this to preserve the grand approach to the cathedral and, one assumes, to provide a space for major events. At the San Jose Square Complex, meanwhile, the trees are more squat in keeping with its more intimate scale.

For the built up areas, the team proposed reusing the demolished buildings to create outdoor-indoor rooms. One building on Las Palmas Drive, for instance, is gutted to make an open air event space. For the two plazas, severed facades are reconstituted to create outdoor-indoor rooms, or gardens semi-enclosed by quasi-ruins. In a city dotted with abandoned colonial buildings (or so we are told), like Havana (or so we imagined thus), this ruin aesthetic makes sense.

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The First Prize of the competition went to the Oficina de Proyectos Urbanos. Their website uses flash, so unfortunately we can't directly link to their project.
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