a+u Architecture and Urbanism 20:12_603

a+u - Architecture and Urbanism - is a monthly architectural magazine established in 1971. Since its inaugural issue, a+u has been widely celebrated by architects everywhere as Japan's only monthly periodical that provides in-depth reporting of architecture worldwide. Each issue is edited from a unique perspective, with essays penned by renowned architects, critics, and historians to guide the direction of tomorrow’s architecture, within and beyond Japan. Text is bilingual in English and Japanese. 1971年1月創刊。創刊以来、海外の建築情報を伝える日本唯一の月刊誌として、広く建築界に親しまれています。a+uの取材ネットワークは全世界に及び、100余カ国を網羅しています。これら各国の建築家を直接取材し、毎号独自の視点で編集することにより、生の動向をいち早く読者の皆様にお届けしています。また、建築家・評論家・歴史家による書き下ろし論文を掲載し、明日の建築のあり方を考える指針として国内外の建築界に多大な影響を与えています。

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12 期号


feature: simón vélez

This issue features Colombian architect, Simón Vélez. He received his architectural education in Colombia and founded his studio in 1972. Having invented the use of bamboo as a structural material by filling it with cement mortar, Vélez has gained international reputation for his designs using bamboo. He believes that architecture should incorporate more plants (vegetarian), and his work is seen to use a diversity of natural materials. Local vegetal materials – such as Guadua bamboo native to South America, Moso bamboo from Asia, and local wood like Ariso, Alboroco, and Eucalyptus – are used to maximize the restrictions and limitations of materials. Conscientious with the materials and site, he continues to create structurally rational buildings. In addition, a dialogue with architect Shigeru Ban is included in this issue. Their interaction began…

from his notebooks

Images on pp. 6–14 courtesy of the architect.…

architect’s house, casa la candelaria

This project started as a gift from my father when I was a student of architecture. It was a humble Colonial-era construction typical of Bogota’s historic center, sitting on a rectangular lot with an 8 m street frontage and a 50 m depth. The front of the lot is along one of the main streets where the social and financial elite lived for 72 years until an assassination of a significant political figure resulted in social unrest. The event destroyed many constructions and motivated this class of people to abandon the sector and look for security and modern comfort elsewhere. When I bought my first house, it was occupied by 20 very poor families that paid a very modest rent. I demolished everything except the façade on Calle 10. In…

casa gloria mejia

This project was one of my first works as an architect, when I was still a student. The clients were a couple, a Belgian married to a Colombian woman. They jokingly asked for a house, “where their friends could not drink alcohol.” A house on top of a bolder was proposed, in a site where a sweet water river meets the sea, a place so dangerous that if someone did want to drink, they would risk accidentally falling and killing themselves. Credits and Data Project title: Oceanfront Bolder House Client: Simón Vélez Location: Santa Marta, Colombia Design: 1971 Completion: 1973 Architect: Simón Vélez Design Team: Simón Vélez Project Team: Simón Vélez and craftsmen Project area: 150 m2 Altitude: Sea Level…

watchtower la candelaria

The project is also in the Historic Center of Bogota, 100 m far from my home. The owners bought an enormous house and restored it in a very respectful manner. On top of the main bedroom, breaking through the roof, I designed a small watchtower out of wood beams, very similar to the first house sitting on top of a pond (La Casita, pp. 16–17) that I constructed in my home. Credits and Data Project title: Watchtower La Candelaria Client: Simón Vélez Location: La Candelaria, Bogota, Colombia Design: 1973 Completion: 1975 Architect: Simón Vélez Design Team: Simón Vélez Project Team: Simón Vélez and craftsmen Project area: 35 m2 Altitude: 2,600 m above sea level…

casa mejia

During this time, I discovered a constructions technique that allowed me to use Guadua bamboo as a structural material that was much more strong than any other wood. This technique consisted of injecting cement mortar in the empty end chambers of the Guadua bamboo where the unions would be. This connection allows for the passing of strong traction and compression forces. Before this discovery, one could only work with bamboo in compression. I discovered that this changes my architecture in a very radical way. In Colombia, Guadua bamboo is considered a poor man’s material. There was, and still is, extreme prejudice against this material. Credits and Data Project title: Casa Mejia Client: Private Location: Cali, Colombia Design: 1982 Completion: 1983 Architect: Simón Vélez Design Team: Simón Vélez Project Team: Simón Vélez and craftsmen Project area: 300 m2 Altitude: 800 m above…