Rogelio Salmona and The Trajectory of Urban-Social Intervention in Colombia

Thomas Fryer Yale School of Architecture George Nelson Scholarship Proposal 18 January 2011

To practice architecture in Latin America is a political act: to defend the public realm, to architecturally intervene in the city, to protect the landscape, to consider aesthtics as an ethic, to fight against social segregation, all these factors have been the motivators to practice this job that, as Le Corbusier said, “is a face of the spirit”.1
Rogelio Salmona

1 2 3 Attachment 1 Attachment 2

Proposal Itinerary and Budget Resume Portfolio Writing Samples: 1 Late Inversions: Le Corbusier and La Tourette 2 Control and Character: Claude-Nicholas Ledoux and the salt-works at Arc-et-Senans 3 Reorientation: SANAA and the New Museum

Above Fundación Cristiana de la Vivienda (1961) San Cristóbal Cover Image Residencial Torres del Parque (1970) Bogotá

Growth, Decline and Rebirth in Bogotá The rapid growth and urbanization of Bogotá in the early 20th Century attracted the attention of numerous architects, including Le Corbusier and Jose Louis Sert, who would both develop “pilot” plans for the capital. While the limitations of the existing Beaux-Arts city offered an ideal testing ground for modernist principles to be implemented, both architects failed to correctly identify the key geographic and social specific to Colombia. The cities instead “developed alone and without any control”2, particularly after 1945, when a turn towards conservatism stripped any liberalizing agenda from the urban policy. Explosive population growth as a result of political terror in rural areas doubled the 1951 population to 1, 700, 000 in 1967, and was followed by the emergence of organized crime in the 1970’s. Civil strife and active Marxist guerilla groups were evident in Bogotá into the 1980’s. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, programs to arrest urban decline through civic projects, including architecture and urban design, were implemented. At the millennium, rates of violence in Bogotá had been effectively tackled. Literacy, education and poverty alleviation programs were physically manifest in new public libraries, schools and sporting facilities. The successful push for car free zones and an expanding bicycle network renewed debate about public space. At the 2006 Venice Biennale Bogotá won the Golden Lion award for cities. Bogotá is again a destination for travellers, and a reputation for narcoviolence is steadily giving way to one of an urbane and progressive city. To what degree can we attribute the post-millennial rebirth of Bogotá with the architectural and urban-social interventions of the preceding thirty years? Building beyond Europe Rogelio Salmona (1927-2007) was a French-born Colombian who returned to Europe at 19 for his university education. In France he worked with Le Corbusier, on the city of Chandigarh and the Maison Jaoul. Returning to Bogotá in 1957, Salmona exhibited a desire to confront social issues in his work from as early as 1961, in his Fundación Cristiana de la Vivienda, San Cristóbal. His architectural insertions to Bogotá envisioned a cosmopolitan yet intimate city; the thresholds of private and public spaces were designed to maximize social encounters and interaction with the landscape. Salmona projected existing topographies upward to become roofscapes and circulation, as evident in his Residencial Torres del Parque (1970). His engagement with “everyday making”3 and extensive use of Bogotá brick reinforced a commitment to using local, climatically intelligent and economical materials. Salmona’s ambitions and methodology - an architcetonic inventiveness and organic formal exploration - ensure that today, surrounded by recent development, his projects remain landmark buildings in central Bogotá. Evolutionary Urbanism A critically neglected aspect of Salmona’s work is his shaping of the public spaces of the city. While his buildings are cited for their formal and spatial qualities, the carefully callibrated public spaces, landscapes and public-private transitional zones of his largescale projects have been little studied. Salmona’s urban legacy lies in his public works, where he intelligently negotiated the requirements of private residency, ownership and the burgeoning access to cultural resources that Colombia experienced, via the provision of surprising and inclusive urban spaces. A comprehensive study of Salmona’s urban agenda, as well as the responses to his interventions, is overdue. Salmona’s Neuva Santa Fe Residential Complex proposed a carefully choreographed public/ private interaction, carved out of a dense urban scheme. Blocks were lined with perimeter developments that retained a green, landscaped interior. A diagonal cut incised through four blocks, unifying several key locations and articulating a green connective thread that engaged

. . .going well beyond the fan-like, high-rise paradigm pioneered by Hans Scharoun . . .the Residencias El Pargue stacked up into a sculptural form that displayed a plastic affinity not only for the grain of the city but also for the profile and sweep of the nearby mountains.4
Kenneth Frampton

Above Residencial Torres del Parque (1970) Bogotá Below Neuva Santa Fe Residential Complex (1987)

sports fields, park and community center, and effectively opened the complex to the greater city. The late Salmona, in works such as the Virgilio Barco Public Library, charted a new urban identity. Environmental elements come to the fore, in a structure partially absorbed by the landscape and defined by an intricate water management network evident in a careful interplay of pools, channels, and drains and framed by the geometry of the libarary. Here, Salmona’s integration of building and landscape elements was “closest to fulfilling the ambitious, socio-cultural program that was a constant, if largely latent, theme throughout his entire career”5. Proposal Today global opportunities for architecture to support state-funded economic, social and environmental initiatives grow in the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. It is instructive for architectural researchers to observe the genesis of the tactical and formal strategies that have been effective harbingers of development in rapidly urbanized centers like Bogotá. Acknowledging the role that Rogelio Salmona’s architecture and urban works had in the renaissance of the Colombian capital, what lessons can we take from him? I propose a course of research devoted to Salmona’s public buildings and their urbanism. Beginning by identifying his seminal urban incursions, photographic documentation, followed by a diagrammatic urban analysis of their role in contemporary Bogotá, then combining the two in a short run publication that underpins the exhibition at the school of architecture. As a postscript to the study of Salmona, I propose a short survey of contemporary urbanism in Medellin, where an extraordinary burgeoning of architecture is currently delivering public facilities as urban strategy in a manner reminiscent of Salmona’s most successful interventions in Bogotá. Academic Context My interest in Latin American architecture and urbanism is a desire to identify the fundamentals of the discipline. I am intrigued by the avenues through which outside theories, practices and forms are recontextualized when imported. Uruguayan architect Eladio Dieste was critical to the research and development of my Spring ‘10 Replication studio project and sparked preliminary research into contemporary South American architcetural trajectories. I also enjoyed the compilation of several small publications in Books and Architecture (Fall ‘10) and am eager to employ the short run publication as a strategic and valuable medium for the dissemination of research. This semester, I am enrolled in Joel Sanders’ Human/Nature seminar - where we will be examining the convergences of architecture, landscape and urban design in contemporary projects - and Inner Worlds, with Brennan Buck, which focuses on materials and form in the service of architectural phenomenology. I look forward to delving into these varied topics with an eye toward Salmona, urbanism and public space, and the successes of Bogotá.

Below -

Virgilio Barco Public Library (2001)

Bibliography Arcila, Claudia Antonia, Tríptico rojo : conversaciones con Rogelio Salmona /Claudia Antonia Arcila, Bogotá, Colombia : Taurus, c2007. Aschner Rosselli, Juan Pablo, Contrapunto y confluencia en el concierto arquitectónico : Biblioteca Virgilio Barco, 1. ed, Bogotá : Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Bogotá, Facultad de Artes, 2008. Castro, Ricardo L, Rogelio Salmona / Ricardo L. Castro ; dirección, diseño y edición, Benjamín Villegas ; textos complementarios, Rogelio Salmona ; prólogo, Germán Téllez. Salmona, 1. ed, Bogotá, Columbia : Villegas Editores, 1998. Hernández, Felipe, Millington, Mark and Borden, Iain (eds), Transculturation : cities, spaces and architectures in Latin America, Amsterdam ; New York : Rodopi, 2005. Hofer, Andreas, Karl Brunner y el Urbanismo Europeo en América Latina / prólogo de Rogelio Salmona, 1. ed, Bogotá : Ancora : Corporación la Candelaria, 2003. Yoshida Nobayuki ed. , Architecture +Urbanism 450, Rogelio Salmona, Japan Architect / A+U, Tokyo, March 2008.

1 Architecture +Urbanism, p92 2 Architecture +Urbanism, p132 3 Transculturation, 138 4 Architecture +Urbanism, p28

Itinerary & Budget
Time Period Location & Itinerary Budget: Travel


(Room/Board, Local Transit, Incidental Expenses)

May 11 -June 11

Rome / ITALY 1291c Continuity & Change. (Pending Acceptance) Rome to New York New York to Bogota Bogota / COLOMBIA Visit - Fundacion Rogelio Salmona* Avenida Jiménez de Quesada (1998 - 2000) Complejo Residencial Torres del Parque (1963 - 1970) Nueva Santa Fe (1985 - 1998) Archivo General de Nacion (1988 - 1992) Bogota / COLOMBIA Fundación Cristiana de la Vivienda San Cristóbal (1963 - 1971) Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogota (1971 - 1979) Alto de Pinos (1975 - 1981) Bogota Area / COLOMBIA Museo Quimbaya, Quimbaya (1983 - 1986) Casas de la Sabana, Tabio (1976 - 1992) Biblioteca Virgilio Barco (1998 - 2001) Cali / COLOMBIA Fundacion para la Educacion Superior, FES (1987 - 1990) Medellin / COLOMBIA Biblioteca Espana - Giancarlo Mazzanti (2005) Medellín Botanical Garden - Plan B Arquitectos (2006) 4 Sports Coliseums for The IX South American Sports Games - Plan B Arquitectos (2010) Medellin / COLOMBIA Swimming Pools for The IX South American Sports Games - Paisajes Emergentes (2008) San Javier Library Park - Javier vera Arquitectos (2008) Parque Explora - Alejandro Echeverri (2009) Cartagena de Indias + Villa de Leyva / COLOMBIA Casa del Fuerte de San Juan de Manzanillo (1978 - 1981) UNESCO Site - Cartagena Walled City and Fortress* National Monument - Villa de Leyva* Bogota / COLOMBIA Various Buildings by Fernando Martínez Sanabria (1925-1991) Contemporary of Salmona’s* Bogota Ciclovia (Car-free Day / Cycleway) Network Bogota to New York
1550 6820 150 500 1500 200 2000 1000 60 (Bus) 100 600 (Air) 840

June 15 June 16 WEEK 1: June 20 - 27

WEEK 2: June 27 - July 4


WEEK 3: July 4 - July 11

840 80 (Bus) 80 (Bus)

WEEK 4: July 11 - July 18 WEEK 5: July 18 - July 25

250 (Air)

200 (Air)


WEEK 6: July 25 - August 1


WEEK 7: August 4 - August 11


80 (Bus) 200 (Air) 840

WEEK 8: August 11 - August 18

August 20

* All itinerary destinations are designed by Rogelio Salmona unless marked with an asterisk.

Salmona Monographs Insurance Digital Camera Portable Data Storage Printing & Binding Contingency

13720 TOTAL