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2016 MCHAP

Educational Park “Ancestral Knowledge"

Lucas Serna Rodas - Farhid Alexander Maya Ramirez - Diana Herrera Duque - Mauricio Valencia

Vigía del Fuerte, Colombia

March 2014


Lucas Serna Rodas Farhid Alexander Maya Ramirez Diana Herrera Duque Mauricio Valencia


Lina Marcela Florez Diaz (Architect) Andrea Maruri (Architect) Alejandro Vargas (Architect)


Fundación Fraternidad Medellín Fundación Berta Martinez


Alejandro Arango Gobernación de Antioquia Taller Sintesis Arquitectura


The project need to tackle no only geographic and climate adversities (total disconnection, river transport only, flooding, harsh weather) but also a total government distrust, public service absence, 100% deterioration of schools, public space, plazas or encounter places absence. The contempt of traditional elements and region habitat for an alien architecture (centralized progress imaginary) and the absence of proper workshops for building medium-complexity infrastructure. We projected architecture and public space elements able to take on, problems of different scale than of the mere architectonic piece. The project is formalized through the sum of two of the typical houses of Vigía del Fuerte arranged next to each other on stilts, elevated 2.5 meters over the ground level, away from the highest historic level of flooding: 1.6 m, and slightly offset relative to each other in plan, marking the accesses to the educational park. The program and circulation areas relates on a 50-50% base in order strengthen social awareness, encounters and events, the project would be Vigia´s first meeting point, open to all community. On the eastern side, facing the Atrato river is the most public access, a ramp, the only element that touches the ground and serves in turn as a grandstand to the first square in town, “Shadows Square” designed as an integral part of the project, in which passive leisure under large pergolas cohabitates with an athletic track and a multisport field, the first intervention on an abandoned landing track which ought to be a social nodal point.


Vigia del Fuerte is a municipality in Antioquia east of Medellín in the Atrato River, which corresponds to the tropical rainforest. It is a town with one of the lowest levels of human and social development in the area, with strong conditions of weather, accessibility, and interconnection, within a region that has been hit by guerrillas and armed conflict. Despite this, the municipality is renowned for its biodiversity, variety of ecosystems and it´s lush vegetation, whose potential for the development of the region is beginning to be tapped. For this reason, the departmental government required an intervention that due to the very conditions of the site is needed to disassemble predisposed schemes and operate in a unique way considering the region and its inhabitants, in a way not replicable in any other place of the national territory. The Town is configured by the tropical rainforest and the Atrato river, which overflows in rainy season flooding the municipality year after year, this has led villagers to build their houses on stilts, raising their homes and platforms one meter above ground level to reduce the impact of the annual flooding of the river in their homes. This condition of being separated from the water by stilts essentially defines the traditional architecture of the village, together with other elements that condition the buildings to their environment: facades that allow wind circulation, steep pitched roofs and large eaves, light materials that don’t force a floor of little capacity to carry large weights, among others.


A project that outperformed our expectations due to community appropriation. The Half area circulation of the building allowed people to have a second place, somewhere to meet and learn any time any day of the week. The covered plaza has held almost all of the government community events as well as social cultural endeavors, dance classes, theater nights, poetry. But most important every inhabitant of Vigía can find a learning or leisure place in the project. Other elements of the educational park follow the same premise of adapting and reinterpreting the place, the facades of the park are lattices that allow continuous cross winds keeping the interiors cool. The roofs allow rain water collection and treatment for internal consumption in the project, in a municipality that is waiting for drinking water, while its large eaves protect from rain and sun. The materials selected are low maintenance, immunized wood enclosures that only need regular washing, slab and stilts in polished concrete treated to withstand the continuous flooding, and weathering steel structure supporting the demanding conditions of the local climate without damage. The “Shadow Square” complements with a more active life, people training different sports, or just playing in the benches. As people find their cultural elements represented in the project they feel It as a part of their culture and way of progress. In sum the project has made Vigía del Fuerte and others regions to look up for a new idea of the city, one that they want and deserve.

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