02.05.2022 Frank Kaltenbach

ETH Zurich: Art School in Barranquilla, Colombia

© Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design ETHZ / Alejandro Arango and Luis Bernardo Cano

On the initiative of the ETH Zurich and the Universidad del Norte de Barranquilla, an internationally renowned school of arts and crafts has been created in a former tobacco factory in the Colombian port city of Barranquilla. The inspiration for the overall concept was the high-quality workshops where costumes, masks and carriages for the city’s internationally famous carnival are made. The carnival also characterizes the design of the area: like a colourful costume, the vivid tiles of the square continue into the building, from the walls to the public rooftop terrace.

© Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design ETHZ / Alejandro Arango and Luis Bernardo Cano

This third-party funded project was set in motion and designed by Alfredo Brillembourg (2014-2019) and Hubert Klumpner, a Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

His ETH coworker Diego Ceresuela-Wiesmann accompanied the on-site building work with his colleagues from Uninorte. Financing was provided by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Colombia’s Sistema General de Regallas (SGR).

© Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design ETHZ / Alejandro Arango and Luis Bernardo Cano

The now completely refurbished old building is a single-storey, plastered block perimeter structure where cigars were once rolled. Now, it is home to the teaching workshops. The teaching areas for sculptors, painters and digital media, most of which are open, occupy a seven-storey new building. The reinforced-concrete skeleton stands like an incomplete shell above the auditorium, which is half dug into the ground and covered by barrel vaulting of brick coffering. Open spaces make the building structure transparent on all levels; a diversity of single or double-level layouts has been created inside the simple supporting structure. The façades differ according to the function of each area of the building. Superimposed metal sheeting blocks wind and heavy rains. The generous openings are either entirely open, partly closed off, or completely closed with expanded metal or glazing. The sculptural stairway serves not only as an access path, but also as a communicative space and stage for performances and celebrations. The geometrically fascinating construction, and indeed the entire building, were modelled using the BIM method.

© Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design ETHZ / Alejandro Arango and Luis Bernardo Cano
© Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design ETHZ / Alejandro Arango and Luis Bernardo Cano

As a nod to the old tobacco factory, the institution is called Fábrica de Cultura. Apart from its function as a school of art and industry, it will also be a new cultural centre for Barranquilla. Local festivals have been planned for the plaza between the old and new buildings, while the photovoltaic system on the rooftop terrace will support the cultivation of fruit, lettuce and vegetables. Moreover, weekly markets can take place here.

© Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design ETHZ / Alejandro Arango and Luis Bernardo Cano

The publicly accessible plaza opens the once closed-off building block for pedestrians to traverse. Green corridors along the new pedestrian and bicycle paths connect Fábrica de Cultura with the infrastructure of the city.

Read more in Detail 5.2022 and in our databank Detail Inspiration


Client: City of Barranquilla (CO)
Location: Fábrica de Cultura in Barranquilla, Cra. 50, Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia (CO)

 


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