23 de Enero is a district in Caracas / Venezuela, where there are ‘70s modernistic residential blocs built for 50,000 people. For political reasons and thanks to housing shortages, Barrios (informal housing areas) where built in between the modernistic blocs, and now, the district houses a total of 200,000 people.

view 23 de Enero, 2010

My main conclusions, results from the urban analysis, were that district 23 de Enero and the whole town of Caracas is fragmented and segregated. As a result, I designed an urban path for 23 de Enero, which will integrate the different areas and work also as a catalyst for defragmentation. The path is the key element in my whole design, and I want to help create change on an urban and architectural level.

urban maquette

First, the path will provide the access to the different areas by stairs, lifts, and escalators and it will also provide the public space with new elements. Second, it will stimulate the self-initiatives from the inhabitants in different locations.

path in the Barrios
path in the Blocs / daytime
path in the Blocs / nighttime

Third, there will be four buildings on the path which will transform the whole area: a gym, a tower and bar, a recycling industry, and a cultural center. The cultural center will be the starting point and the fall case study of the urban and architectural investigation.

visualization cultural center

The cultural center is a combination of different programs: an underground parking garage that will accommodate the huge need of parking lots, an underground musical hall for 1,000 people to congregate (at the moment there are no buildings in the district to accommodate this number of people). The cultural center will provide different activities on the ground level including: a skating park, a restaurant, different playgrounds and a market. These cultural events will help eliminate the possibility for criminal activities, will handle the inhuman scale between the two modernistic blocs and will attract and give meaning to the people of Caracas.

maquette cultural center

There are also two lofted buildings, which are women’s centers. In Caracas, the question of emancipation is not solved in society; there is a large need of a space where women can meet, discuss, get education, and find self-confidence.

Sustainably speaking, there are 3,000 square meters of sun panels on the roof and also a rainwater tank under the skate park.

Architecturally, the building handles the formal and the informal, and allows for various elements to be used for informal fillings, including areas from the path and columns. The formal language from the path is a crystalline structure, which is a result of how the barrios are built into the topography. The lofted buildings are independent structures that can be internally customized by the women themselves.

maquette cultural center