The city of Medellin sprawls on the slopes of a basin, and the topography of its hills is marked by the self-building and violence related to drug trafficking. The city center in the bottom of the valley suffers from a lack of activity linked to the systematic implantation of monofunctional districts which are animated in the daytime but leave nights to the mercy of crime. A few years ago, the city council set out to reconquer its center with numerous housing operations. The determination to revitalize districts through new and diverse programming naturally underpins the competition to redevelop the block.
Our project first proposes to rebuild the block by increasing the density of existing buildings, joining together its urban fronts and creating a pedestrian walkway that opens the block up to the city and communicates with nearby existing urban elements. The passage welcomes artisanal activities and provides a more permanent base for the informal daytime activities that animate the site. Particular attention is given to opening up the existing church by creating a new parvis that positions it as a genuine urban process. The project aims to sculpt public and collective space, moving from public to the most private on the scale of the block: public square, common courtyard, shared terraces, common rooftop gardens. For housing units, gradation to the private sphere is achieved through an innovative typology, based on a variety of prefabricated modules and movable dividing walls that enable residents to recompose their apartment and open it up to common areas as they see fit, depending on the time of day, making these dwellings genuine “living spaces.”