Nicholas McMunn, Assoc. AIA

Nicholas McMunn, Assoc. AIA

Houston, TX, US


Cultural Connections

Globalization is a massive effort to unify all aspects of the world for expansive collaboration on furthering the human race to proceed at ever accelerating paces. If there is no proposition for helping the underdeveloped world play catch up then the connection between all is lost and the separation and rendering of borders becomes even more intense than at the present time. It is during this point that disparity displays its gritty teeth and as a result reinforces the disconnection of culture, personality and identity. PANAMA CITY, PANAMA is a literal and figurative BRIDGE FOR CONNECTING different cultures, economies and levels of life because the region has a well known inequity status among its population, and it has continued to grow in size and economy because of a globalized market. The region harnesses the possibility for CONNECTIONS BETWEEN EXTREME DISPARITY as seen in its urban planning differences, social statuses, land use, etc.

The intervention on the site is to be a living monument which will accommodate galleries, libraries, parks, community gardens and plazas that are intersected by the fluid and transient spaces of the city. It is to become a connection hub for cultures and different levels of life from Old Panama City, Panama City Slums, New Panama City and Rural Panama alike. Its attempt to mend different parts of Panama City together by utilizing typically unusable space above a part of the city that has acted as a separator as much as it has a connector will create the band aid for the expanding wound of disparity plaguing the current day city. The inner city neighborhood of Casco Viejo envelopes a small region that includes historical, slum, civil, industrial, commercial and residential land uses all of which span the developmental process of decades of urban growth. Dissecting the site is a recent integration of city infrastructure in the byway connecting Balboa Av. and Av. de Los Martires which acts as both a bridge and slice in the landscape. The experiential arching created by the cultural museum and learning lab mimics the characteristics of the bridge by connecting above and below the transient force on the site for a well rounded flow between elevated connections and submerged passageways.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Panama City, PA