Transforming a City

Camilo Restrepo | Luís Callejas | Miguel Mesa

Published in Total Latin American Architecture.

Design team: Camilo Restrepo, Miguel Mesa, Luís Callejas (Paisajes Emergentes).
Collaborators: Federico Mesa, Santiago Cadavid & Farid Maya (architects) & Juan David Díez (graphic designer).
Temporary exhibition: 2008-2009.
Location: Main Square of Medellín, Colombia.
Construction and installation: Juan Camilo Muñoz, Marco S.A. Laszlo Yurko, Ecoluz (Illumination), Andrés Ospina (Landscape consulting).
Built area: 4.305 SF.

Commissioned design Medellín Mayor’s Office exhibition for the 50th BID assembly.

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They asked us to represent the recent transformation of the city under several requirements: to make an itinerant open air show, resistant to sun, rain and lateral winds of 150km/h. It shouldn’t weight more than 400 kg per m2 as it was to be placed over the main room of the Convention Center. They asked for a typical museum hall, a neutral container that would not compete with the works exhibited and readily recognizable. The show had to include ten video monitors, supply networks and receive six thousand people in three days—after which the it would be open to the general public.

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In addition, we had to follow a script that covered from the development of the urban area of Medellín to the mafia violence. From the subway to the social urbanism of Sergio Fajardo and future plans. The pavilion had to be at work in scarce 40 days, including installation. We proposed a pavilion that would not aim at representing the city change but at constituting a new and singular space for it. We wanted to inscribe our project in the frame of some of our keen interests about contemporary culture: performativity, recycling, fast undertakes and the match between the natural and the artificial. To this purpose we thought of an industrial object we believed materially suitable and gave it a chance. Distributing the script in ten water tanks of 10.000 liters capacity each.

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Making holes in the tanks with a cutter machine we could turn them into capsules and receive the public in. The tanks endured weather, had low weight, resisted the strong wind, had malleable interiors, protected the screens and served to support graphic information. During the day, the sun rays would dim when hitting the tank surfaces providing homogeneous light, but temperature was an issue to solve—as it could rise a lot un the afternoon— and night illumination as well. On one part we chose to cover the tanks with vegetation and installed humidifier systems; on the other, we opted for an illumination system based on led tubes attached to the cover.

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