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2018 MCHAP.emerge


Santiago Arango and Camilo Arango

Medellin, Colombia

September 2016


Santiago Arango Camilo Arango


Alejandro Molina (Constructor) Luis Gonzalo Moscoso ( Forestal engineer)


Specific clients who now live in the building


Alejandro Arango Luis Cano Manuela Franco



The Project is located in Medellín, the second-largest city in Colombia and the capital of the department of Antioquia. It is located in the Aburrá Valley, a central region of the Andes Mountains in South America. Given its geographical and climate conditions, it is very common to find infinity of plant species at any time of the year, creating intrinsic relationships between nature and city’s inhabitants. Nevertheless, the accelerated growth and construction, has resulted in the loss of green spaces that provide not only the fauna but also the people around. Matorral is born from the idea of reactivating ecological connections, city landscape and relationships between humans and vegetation. In these times of deep climate crisis, green has become a flag for hope. MATORRAL, with its evocative name, is an architectural and construction proposal that actually takes these matters seriously. The building’s slabs become soil for more than 100 tropical species. Intelligent drip irrigation provides the minimum but vital amount of water for the flourishing of this small ecosystem.


The slabs are converted into a large container of more than one hundred tropical species. Drip irrigation provides rationally scheduled water into this small ecosystem. Residents on any level of the five-story building can enjoy-- and are recommended to taste-- the lush vegetation of rosemary, thyme, basil, tomatoes, aloe vera, and lemon trees growing directly outside their window. From the interior, this creates a feeling that their home is located within an oasis as opposed to a bustling city; and to any outsider, the structure seems to have devoured its concrete façade. From the moment of its construction until today, we have managed to verify that vegetation is a fundamental element in the daily life of humans. Not only because it manages its own microclimate but also because it provides residents with vegetables. In this way the building functions as a cycle in which what is grown is consumed by residents. The success the building has had, makes us understand that it is very important to integrate vegetation in every single project we are working on.

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