Daniel Monroy Alejo's profile
Jardines Infraestructurales - Undergraduate Thesis
/ Jardines Infraestructurales /
Making Moravia’s Landscape Visible

Jardines Infrastructurales aims to open the discussion around the informal city’s urban processes within the Colombian context. Especially, this “informal” approach to architecture that Manuel Gausa explains as “a dynamic that releases energies” (p.343, Metapolis, 2003), could drive the interrelation between the community’s Know-hows and territorial complexity to ultimately design these urban clusters.

The conventional idea of slums as an attachment to the formal city has undervalued its informal counterpart’s input to the Hybrid city, one with a transformative nature, a high social identity and compact densification. This proposal challenges genericness, land speculation, and political oblivion within these informal hubs in order to create a contemporary Hypercluster.

This investigation comes from a big interest in exploring the informal urbanization processes in Medellín (left animation), not just because of their predominant built footprint, but also for its integration to the city’s metropolitan systems. This informal growth has allowed Medellín the capacity for experimentation within the contemporary urban planning practices.

The slums in Medellín have grown disproportionately compared to the areas under the POT’s Integral Improvement treatment, therefore it raises the question of how to intervene in these places beyond their urban treatment (center animation), and address the needs communities cannot solve on their own. Moravia presented the most suitable opportunity of urban renovation thanks to its more consolidated state within the timeline of informality. 

Another problem inside these sectors of the city has been the lack of spatial integration of residual waste networks into public space (right animation), such as water treatment and collection of recyclable materials, which would enhance the citizens’ quality of life from the requalification of these infrastructures as part of the system of spaces at the city’s disposal.

/ Cluster /​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

In order to approach the site’s complexity, three concepts were defined as the main qualities that describe Moravia’s cluster: the collective and historical Memory, the community’s Know-hows and the Garden as a conceptual and tangible artifact.​​​​​​​

The translation of these qualities into an architectural concept was developed through 3 visual artifacts: 
Firstly, Moving Memory (1st animation) interprets the traces left by the settlers on site and makes visible how this temporality can have an architectural materiality. 
Then, Urban Substrate (2nd animation) deconstructs the tower and garden typologies in order to reveal an unexpected spatial complexity capable of creating a vertical garden within the site’s dynamics. 
The Operating Diagram (3rd image) on the other hand, blends the immediate responsibility for inclusive public space and a lasting public infrastructure on a single image, where the vertical public space is inhabited over time, thus, creating a systemic growth and the integration of new actors to the public space network.

/ Urban Obelisks /

Enriched by the Roman obelisks brought to the city during the Imperial period, and their later repurpose as urban pilgrimage landmarks hereabouts, the proposal’s urban approach to Moravia shows several vertical landmarks that connect different realms (geographic, social, ecologic, commercial, recreational, etc). This cross-information establishes 3 vertical hubs which active the neuralgic ecosystems and infrastructure of the neighborhood, which then unleash new dynamics that reveal other hubs that attend the community’s transformation in time.

/ Artifacts /​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The urban responsibility these towers present is to create a transition from the the metropolitan sphere that comes from the Innovation District and the Metro line, until it reaches the most intimate sphere on the streets of the neighborhood. Yet, each one of them holds a different social/ecological responsibility according to the immediate and long-term scenario.

/ Performativity /

With a focus on defining the proposal's temporal condition, a conceptual object was designed to explore how its material quality could acquire an eventual and permanent quality when interpreted as an architectural piece, where the actors and landscape can interact in time.

/ Making visible /

To sum up this research, Moravia’s Hypercluster is built from the social innovation, a resilient memory and ecological awareness within the community; which creates a place where the infrastructure makes visible the knowledge and potential of the people. 

In addition, this civic responsibility highlights an architecture in time, that is, the project's ability to adapt the landscape to the social and political transformations together.

This reflection seeks, on the other hand, to propose the replicability of architecture in informal contexts, extrapolating this proposal to other Latin American contexts, where the understanding of the history of the neighborhoods is the project base to understand the challenges that each community faces within its local matters.

Jardines Infraestructurales

Author / Daniel Monroy
Tutors / Claudio Rossi & Daniela Atencio

Universidad de los Andes
Unidad Avanzada

Jardines Infraestructurales - Undergraduate Thesis
Daniel Monroy Alejo's profile
Daniel Monroy Alejo

Jardines Infraestructurales - Undergraduate Thesis

Undergraduate Thesis Project, 2020-2. Architecture Department, Universidad de los Andes.