Vertical Activation | La Concordia Amphitheater

Bogotá, Colombia

Category Ephemeral | Public space | Social | Cultural | Commercial
Job type Ad-honorem commission
Date
2020

Seating capacity 14 tables
Client Instituto para la Economía Social - IPES
Collaborators Sociedad Colombiana de Arquitectos | Colab-19
Status Built
Awards II Bogotá Biennale of Public Space 2021
, Comprehensive Management of Public Space Category, Honorable Mention | AZ Awards 2021, Architecture: Temporary and Experimental Installations Category, Award of Merit | AZ Awards 2021, Social Good Category, Award of Merit | Dezeen Awards 2021, Installation Design Category, Longlisted
Photos Alberto Roa

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The installation in La Concordia Market was the second one of two interventions done in the public markets of Bogotá, Colombia, during the pandemic. It was active from December 2020 to January 2021.

Traditional markets in the pandemic

On March 20, 2020, the city of Bogotá went into its first lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It lasted a total of 165 days (5 months and 12 days). With one of the longest lockdowns registered in a major city, 40% of the city markets were closed. The hospitality industry took a heavy blow with more than 320,000 jobs lost.

As an answer to this crisis, the Government of Bogotá created the program "Bogotá a cielo abierto", so the gastronomy sector could resume its activities outdoors.

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La Concordia Market

Said program planned the reactivation of several markets. The traditional market of La Concordia, located in the historic center of the city, was one of them. This market has a public plaza at its main entrance, that had the potential of hosting one of the reactivation activities.

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The challenge

How could we create a system that reactivates the services in the public markets through ephemeral, modular, and sustainable architecture?

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Cartoon by Brooke Bourgeois.

Rethinking distancing

The design solution was to think about physical distancing being a vertical issue.

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With the vertical distancing, we could densify the public space of the market and introduce more tables.

Flexible solution

Given the success of the intervention in La Perseverancia Market, the vertical physical distancing concept was used again for this proposal. In La Concordia, the bar typology was transformed into a U typology. This created a cloister, in dialogue with the ones found in the typical colonial complexes of the area. This cloister could be used as a flexible amphitheater to help reactivate other sectors outside the market that had been severely affected by the pandemic, such as the cultural and entertainment sectors.

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Mixed-use intervention

Besides a flexible amphitheater, the proposal has three different layers arranged in a vertical composition: a commerce one connected to the ground floor, a dinning one with tables in the middle section, and a public park on the top.

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Structure and Materiality

The scaffolding was the material that better fitted our approach concept and the market restaurants' requirements since it's a system designed to be built quickly and at a low cost. And the fabric allowed the intervention to create intimate spaces for sharing in the open space.

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With a material as accessible as scaffolding, we created a intervention that was:


1. Free for the client, since the materials were a donation.

2. Respectful of the heritage context.

3. Zero-waste, since the scaffolding returned to its original use once the program was finished.

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Results

By the end of the program "Bogotá a cielo abierto", the strategy helped in the reactivation of several sectors associated with the market affected during the pandemic. The intervention became an example of how to respond to a social and economical crisis through an innovative exercise of ephemeral architecture.

The intervention created a new public space for the use of citizens in the reopening of Bogotá.

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The market's uses reactivated as well as some of the cultural and entertainment sectors.

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The design became a reference for design for social and economical emergencies.

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