Vertical Activation | La Perseverancia

Bogotá, Colombia

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

Seating capacity 16 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 Diez Veinte | Toquica

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The installation in La Perseverancia Market was the first one of two interventions done in the public markets of Bogotá, Colombia, during the pandemic. It was active from September 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 Perseverancia Market

Said program planned the reactivation of several markets. The traditional market of La Perseverancia, featured in the Netflix series Street Food: Latin America, was one of them. This market has an exterior space in 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?

To get a correct answer to this question, a communitarian process of participation was done in order to understand the most important necessities of the market restaurants' chefs. From these workshops, a set of three purposes or rules for the intervention were set.

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Denser seating capacity

The strategy needed to prioritize the number of people to be served, in order to help the economic recovery of the markets.

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Economic accesibility

The design should be a near-to-zero cost, since the markets had a small budget to invest in the new design.

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Temporality and biosecurity

The time spent by the customer at the table, and the biosecurity of them and the staff should be taken into account due to the changing conditions of the pandemic by that time, and the restriction of permanent constructions in the market since it's a heritage building.

Reduced seating capacity

In conclussion, for the chefs from La Perseverancia Market the biggest issue was to increase the seating capacity in the available public space, since the physical and social distancing restrictions reduced the ammount of tables.

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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.

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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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Assembling

The construction process took 32 hours and used more than 1,500 scaffolding pieces from the company Layher Andina S.A.S.

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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.

La Perseverancia became an icon of the social and economical reactivation of Bogotá.

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The sales in the market's restaurants increased 300% during the first month of the intervention.


The proposal helped the chefs in La Perseverancia Market to avoid closing their restaurants after the first lockdown.

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