As part of this year’s Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, the Brazilian megacity drafted a proposal for a digital interchange platform designed to connect vendors with restaurants, markets, and other retailers in an effort to make it easier for them to sell their wares. On Wednesday, São Paulo’s proposal was named the winner of the third ever Mayors Challenge, which gives it a $5 million cash prize to implement the idea. — citylab.com
"In most cities in Latin America, most of the building over last 50 years—depending on the city—40, 50, 60, 70 percent has been through incremental construction.” [...]
The majority of Aravena’s social housing work has also rested on the unique conditions and high level of investment from Chile’s social housing program. [...]
Isn’t asking the poor to shoulder more of the housing burden an inherently unfair proposition? — newrepublic.com
I’m on a walking tour with two dozen international architects and urban designers, as we imagine a theoretical future for Havana. The walk is part of a charrette—an exercise that gives professionals and community members a voice on urban development when there is no formal mechanism to do so, as has been the case in crumbling Havana. [...]
As the Cuban government slowly loosens restrictions on private enterprise, one wonders if the gentrification of Havana is inevitable. — Hakai Magazine
“I give it two years, max [...] It will be US business interests that finally push congress into lifting the embargo – they’re all going crazy being shut out of this market.” American architects and developers are already queuing up to be first in line, ready to pounce on investment opportunities when the embargo drops. Frank Gehry sailed into Havana in December, aboard a streamlined yacht he designed for himself, here to “offer his expertise to Cuba” according to a government statement. — theguardian.com
Why build a straightforward bridge for an unremarkable sum when the same bridge could be built as a circle for vast amounts of money?
A new bridge spanning (or circumnavigating) Laguna Garzón, a coastal lagoon in southeastern Uruguay, poses just that question. [...] At a glance, it’s the sort of ridiculousness that you might expect of a bridge in London.
In fact, there’s a perfectly good functional explanation for it. — citylab.com
Chilean architects have begun to exert an influence well beyond the size and scale of their string-bean nation. [...]
“There are enough people working here in a way that shifts the art,” explains Aravena, sitting in the middle of his firm’s buzzing Santiago offices. “There is healthy competition and there is critical mass. When you have a critical mass, you are not alone in trying to push boundaries.”
The result: remarkable buildings all over Chile. — latimes.com
The exhibition recalls an earlier era when architects there believed that social challenges should be tackled by design, that humane societies deserved beautiful new forms, and progressive development put faith in art, nature and the resilience of ordinary people. — Michael Kimmelman, New York Times
Until the advent of cable television and then the Internet, Latin Americans, creators and consumers alike, were often more aware of trends in Europe and the United States than in nations neighboring theirs: Whatever similarities in style that emerged regionally were largely the result of discrete, parallel responses to the challenges of urbanization, poverty and the need to somehow integrate modernity and tradition. — The New York Times
The architect Freddy Mamani Silvestre’s extravagant urban mansions in El Alto, Bolivia, have been derided as kitschy-looking cohetillos, meaning “spaceships”—giving his work the nickname “spaceship architecture.”
But the admirers of Freddy Mamani, as he is generally known, say his colorful “new Andean” style has also served to reinvent a city once aesthetically monochromatic, and that he has found a way to bring traditional Andean and Tiwanaku cultures into an urban setting. — qz.com
The Holcim Awards 2014 announced the winners for the Latin America competition. During the recent awards ceremony in Medellín, 12 projects from throughout Latin America were recognized as models of sustainable construction that demonstrate the evolving state of sustainable construction and the Holcim Awards standards of environmental, social and economic performance... — bustler.net
Buenos Aires has not traditionally been concerned about preservation. Only a handful of buildings remain from the colonial years after the city's founding in 1536 in what is now the old San Telmo tourist district. The Parisian architecture of the early 20th century has also been shrinking because of the property boom that accompanied a renewed spurt of economic growth in the last decade until 2013. — theguardian.com
Brash, baroque and steeped in native Andean symbols, the mini-mansions are a striking sight on the caked-dirt streets of El Alto, the inexorably expanding sister city of Bolivia's capital.
They attest to a new class of indigenous nouveau riche, many of them merchants who converted street stalls into fortunes. [...]
The mini-mansions mesh modern and traditional architecture and flaunt, above all, two things: their owners' wealth and their Aymara heritage. — usnews.com
Yet women architects in Latin America — as in North America — continue to confront gender-based inequities. Partly this seems due to entrenched cultural attitudes, and partly to the traditional connections between architecture, engineering and capital, which can make it difficult to progress to a less patriarchal culture of building and design. — Places Journal
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