77°F
Overcast clouds
Architecture

Centro Civico y Cultural​

La Candelaria
Share on:
Location

Carrera 53 #42 -181
La Candelaria, Medellín

Hours

8am - 5pm
Monday to Friday

Closed
Weekends

Table of Contents

Located in the heart of the institutional center of Alpujarra in Medellín, the Centro Cívico y Cultural stands as a new urban complex that effectively integrates various institutional buildings in the area. The project conveys a message of urban democracy and architectural contemporaneity.

The Centro Cívico de Antioquia, also known as Centro Cívico y Cultural Plaza de la Libertad, was born, like many of Medellín’s most significant and recent works, from an international competition promoted by the Government of Antioquia and IDEA.

The competition aimed to create a high-impact urban project that would become a meeting point for all the inhabitants of the department and the city. The winners of this competition were the firms Opus Oficina de Proyectos Urbanos, led by architects Manuel Jaén, Carlos Betancour, and Carlos Montoya, and the firm Toro Posada Arquitectos.

Location & Design

The project is situated on a 15,000 m2 plot next to the City Hall of Medellín and the Government of Antioquia. It shares its neighborhood with iconic city buildings such as the Alpujarra Complex, the Exhibition Center, Plaza Cisneros, and the EPM Library. Given these other urban buildings, the new Plaza de la Libertad had the challenge of connecting the different metropolitan facilities with mass transit systems, iconic streets, and existing high pedestrian traffic flows.

The design response consisted of creating generous public spaces to accommodate the flow of pedestrians and the introduction of complementary uses such as a hotel, retail, and television studios. This ambitious intervention provided the city with 63,000 m2 of office space and 15,000 m2 of public space.

“We aimed to represent the space of a society that coexists in the exuberance and fertility of this land, understanding its biodiversity, social, ethnic, and cultural diversity as one of its greatest assets. That’s why the project’s aesthetics are based on the abstraction of different forest strata, where we found patterns for defining materials, levels of openness at each level, and textures of the buildings,” according to the design narrative by Opus.

Architectural Vision

This analogy between architecture and forests is reflected in all layers of the project. For example, the forest floor stratum corresponds to cavernous spaces, while the heavier architecture, the understory, encompasses the lower floors, accessible through the use of more domestic scales and public functions. The tree stratum corresponds to intermediate-scale architectures with volumes of perforated surfaces elevated on “tree trunks.” Finally, there is the stratum of emergent trees.
“The project focuses on constructing a city model that actively incorporates vegetation into urban spaces. Politically, we understand human freedom in two dimensions: collective freedoms, which have their space in the square as a support for institutional towers, and individual freedoms represented in the Freedom Forest, which serves as the gateway to the cultural center,” explain the architects.
“The project focuses on constructing a city model that actively incorporates vegetation into urban spaces. Politically, we understand human freedom in two dimensions: collective freedoms, which have their space in the square as a support for institutional towers, and individual freedoms represented in the Freedom Forest, which serves as the gateway to the cultural center,” explain the architects.
The project incorporates various elements within a well-conceived vision of metropolitan scale. The Institutional Tower is designed as a landmark in the city center, comprising two towers of 24 and 17 stories, respectively. The upper floors house the offices of the Government, with commercial spaces on the ground floor, garden terraces, and a public viewpoint. “The building’s skin is a system of concrete porticos and prefabricated elements that serve as both structure and solar control, reminiscent of the bark of two large trees,” explain the architects.

Cubic and Rectangular Shapes

The second component of the project is a solid cube-shaped volume that houses the studios of the regional television channel, Teleantioquia. It was conceived as an open building where citizens can explore and learn about the television production process. The building hosts the regional channel’s production unit, equipped with two 380 m2 studios, which serve as technical and service areas.
Finally, a rectangular volume was conceived as a “dynamic element of urban life” that shapes the interior plaza space. This building features horizontal lines with a glass facade facing the plaza and a double skin made of wood panels on the eastern side. This building will be transformed into a hotel and is the only part of the complex financed through private investment.
“We conceived the project as a place for civic meetings and expression. Functionally, it will include exhibition rooms, squares, forests, a pedestrian walkway along 42nd Street, a commercial base along the railway avenue, an urban canopy, public and private parking lots. There are 15,000 m2 of hard and soft public surfaces designed to integrate various architecturally significant buildings in the area, which were individually constructed in recent years. This connection is achieved through vegetation and water pathways as priority elements.”