ArchiWEB Explorer: Latin America

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An Architectural Guide to Guatemala City

© Andrés Asturias © Andrés Asturias

This guide is not a catalog. It is an open invitation to walk around the city and learn more about the architecture in Guatemala City.

The Guide to Modern Architecture in Guatemala City was written by Raúl Monterroso, Gemma Gil, and photographed by Andrés Asturias. In partnership with The Cultural Center of Spain in Guatemala, the guide addresses a descriptive analysis of 35 buildings, structured in five different routes, with the aim of not only synthesizing a series of physical characteristics but to provoke a reflexive, analytical and critical observation of the environment.

As Raúl Monterroso points out, while he shares five sites that every architect must visit, the goal is to introduce people to Guatemala's modern movement. It is an invitation to walk through the city and identify it with a different built heritage, however one that also shapes the landscape and fits into the urban context. Learn more about modern architecture in Latin America, below.

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11 Architecture Biennials to Pay Attention to in 2019

Venice captured all architects' hearts and minds last year, but 2019 —a Venice-less year— will be still a year full of biennials and festivals around the world (many of which we're proud to be official partners of). The excitement is already building. 

From Chicago's new approaches to the traditional practices to Shenzhen's future technology prospect; from Oslo's degrowth agenda to Brazil's focus on everyday architecture, it's time to start saving dates for the following biennials around the world!

China: Bi-City Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture (2019 UABB)
Late 2019 — (Boreal) Spring 2020

Moveable Walls : Transparency and Accessibility in 6 Works of Architecture

© Rory Gardiner © Rory Gardiner

When the time comes to separate or close off spaces, it's important to keep in mind solutions that will adapt and cater to your project. In this step, it's important to define, not only the materials needed to complete the project, but how the final product will interact with the people who will use it.  Some of the most highly recommended solutions are foldable, collapsable, stackable, or hanging mechanisms that allow interiors and exteriors to be integrated without completely losing their individual functions. 

If you're looking for help or inspiration for this process, take a look at 6 projects that effectively utilize these versatile building systems. 

Cortesía de Ducasse Industrial Cortesía de Ducasse Industrial


Systems that allow you to create a collapsable door with folding or stacking mechanisms.

From Pompeii to Gaza: The History of Street Art as a Voice for the People

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

Over the past half-century, street art has evolved from squiggled lettering on subway cars to a cultural force practiced in virtually every corner of the globe. It began unsanctioned and disdained, and though some prominent street artists now sell their work for millions behind gallery doors, it remains firmly rooted in counterculture, simultaneously celebrated and dismissed. What separates it from merely decorative murals is its message, even if it doesn’t appear to be saying anything at all: its very existence empowers people with little to no voice in society.

The Same People who Designed Prisons Also Designed Schools

New City School, Frederikshavn / Arkitema Architects . Image Cortesía de Arkitema Architects New City School, Frederikshavn / Arkitema Architects . Image Cortesía de Arkitema Architects

According to architect and academic Frank Locker, in architectural education, we keep repeating the same formula from the 20th-century: teachers transmitting a rigid and basic knowledge that gives students, no matter their motivation, interests, or abilities, little to no direction. In this way, says Locker, we are replicating, literally, prisons, with no room for an integral, flexible, and versatile education.

"What do you think of when you're in a space with closed doors and a hallway where you can't enter without permission or a bell that tells you when you can enter and leave?" asks Locker.

Safdie Architects' Albert Einstein Medical School Breaks Ground in São Paulo

Vista do átrio. Image Cortesia de Safdie Architects Vista do átrio. Image Cortesia de Safdie Architects

The first Brazilian project by Safdie Architects has broken ground in Sao Paolo's Morumbi neighborhood on November 6. The Albert Einstein Education and Research Center is part of the Albert Einstein hospital complex.

The new center, named Campus Cecilia and Abram Szajman, will be one of the most advanced institutions in Latin America for medical studies. It will feature innovations in learning methods and technologies, as well as flexible research laboratories capable of adapting to the advancement of hospital techniques.

"The new Albert Einstein Education and Research Center will provide an oasis for bustling urban life," said Moshe Safdie. "Our project promotes a sense of calm - a lush inner garden with different levels, informal meeting areas, and classrooms masked by an inventive glass cover that evokes the feeling of being under the shade of a tree. The design of this center will educate and empower tomorrow's medical leaders," the architect concluded.

Zaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich Create 3D Knitted Concrete Pavilion Transportable via Suitcase

© Philippe Block via ZHA © Philippe Block via ZHA

ETH Zurich, working in collaboration with Zaha Hadid Architects Computation and Design Group (ZHCODE) and Architecture Extrapolated (R-Ex) have unveiled a 3D-knitted shell serving as the primary shaping element for curved concrete structures.

The “KnitCandela” prototype represents the first application of this technology at an architectural scale, a five-tonne concrete structure on display at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City.

Teopanzolco Cultural Center by Isaac Broid + PRODUCTORA Wins the Oscar Niemeyer Award

© Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro

The Oscar Niemeyer Award for Latin American Architecture is a renowned initiative by the Latin American Architecture Biennial Network (REDBAAL). This award recognizes the best architectural production, unquestionable empowerment, and presence of Latin American architecture in the international context.

© Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro

Named after the iconic Latin American architect, Oscar Niemeyer's work has been recognized in Brazil, Latin America, and the world. The works selected for the second edition of the Oscar Niemeyer Award for Latin American Architecture were chosen by biennial members of REDBAAL.

Book Review: Exposed Architecture

Exposed Architecture: Exhibitions, Interludes and Essays by LIGA
Park Books, 2018
Paperback, 312 pages

Five years ago, coinciding with a couple conferences on architectural exhibitions, I did a short survey of venues devoted to architecture for World-Architects. With only eleven institutions, the survey was far from comprehensive, though it made up for this with a diversity of locales and approaches to displaying architecture. One of the youngest – two years old at the time of publication – of the bunch was LIGA, Space for Architecture in Mexico City, which I had only marginal knowledge of at the time. An "uneven balance between lots of construction and no discussion" in Latin America led to the creation of LIGA and made it "a necessary platform to create a local architectural culture." Amazingly, the ambitious impetus of LIGA and its diverse seasonal programming (four exhibitions per year) took place in a corner storefront of only 160 square meters (photos below, though LIGA's website hints at an impending move to, I'm assuming, larger digs elsewhere in Mexico City).

Bogotá, Through the Lens of Leo Matiz

Bogotá. Image © Archivo de Bogotá Bogotá. Image © Archivo de Bogotá

Bogota's modernization between 1940 and 1970 is featured in a wide array of books, magazines, and photo albums, as well as in the city's own public and private archives. Every one of these sources reveals a deliberate, as well as critical, approximation of how modern architecture reconfigured the city's center and brought together the new buildings and urban space with the already existing cityscape.

When analyzing the impact of photography from the street, it's impossible not to talk about Leo MatizArmando Matiz, and Hernán Díaz. These three photographers have captured the personalities, events, and urban life of Bogotá. Here, we've compiled some of their most noted works featuring the streets, plazas, crosswalks, and landmarks of Bogotá. Through their photography, modern heritage finds a place on the stage of collective memory, where architecture and urban spaces are the stars. 

In this edition of Bogotá in 10 photographs, we will come to know the legacy of Leo Matiz: