The architectural legacy of Rogelio Salmona: an ethical, political, social and poetic manifesto
Permanent Delegation of Colombia to UNESCO
Bogotá, Cartagena, Tabio (A Serial Property)
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party
Latitude and Longitude, or UTM coordinates:
1 Residencias El Parque, 1965-1970 / 4°36'48.099"N 74°4'2.103"W.
2 Casa de Huéspedes de Colombia / 10° 23' 36.925"N 75° 32' 10.694"W.
3 Archivo General de la Nación, 1988-1994 / 4°35'38.7" N 74°04'35.8"W .
4 Casa Gabriel García Márquez, 1991-1996 / 10°25'42.9"N 75°32'54.0"W.
5 Edificio de Posgrados de Ciencias Humanas – Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1997-2000 / 4°38' 2.539"N 74° 5' 11.964"W.
6 Casa en Río Frío, 1997-2000
7 Parque y Biblioteca Virgilio Barco, 1999-2001 /4°39'26.027" N 74°5'18.583"W
It is the purpose of architecture to propose spaces that allow time to go by. It is an ethical way to counteract, to oppose that absurd notion, yet so ingrained in our age, that time is “lost”. That is why architecture is also memory, since it unequivocally reestablishes that intimate unity between the individual, space, and their time.Rogelio Salmona
The work of Rogelio Salmona (Paris, France 1927 – Bogotá, Colombia 2007) reflects the spirit of a man with an unwavering ethical position and a strong social and political commitment, all of which is expressed in an architecture of high technical, aesthetic and poetic standards. His incessant pursuit was to promote an open city, starting with the defense of human rights and the creation of public places for diverse encounters. Even in its most abstract aspects, his architecture is in deep communion and understanding of the place. Both memory and territory, as well as the urban landscape and the natural environment, are essential references in his work.
An enemy par excellence of improvisation, each work by Rogelio Salmona is a link in a long chain that he himself, over the years, was in charge of forging together. Each brick was placed in accordance with the immediate requirements of the city and its inhabitants. His compromise with the most profund ethics never had limits, he never made concessions to vogues and transitory aesthetics, always nourished by history, and he permanently maintaining a consistent respect for each place and its traditions.
The oeuvre of Rogelio Salmona presented real solutions to fundamental problems of society, the city, and architecture; he supported his premises with civil and democratic argumentations, always pursuing the welfare and enrichment of citizen life. Rogelio Salmona's work is an exceptional contribution to the heritage of the world and the development of architecture due to its urban approaches, its compositional principles, and the technical procedures he implemented. Various traditions and schools that have had a significant impact on numerous generations of architects also converge in his work.
The architect adhered to a series of pursuits and to certain universal premises, which he developed from the local environment. Colombia had experienced a rapid transformation from working and peasant societies into an urbanized middle and lower-class population. Because of the displacement caused by the national political and social conflict for more than 70 years, this process intensified and had particularly dramatic situations.
Rogelio Salmona began his architectural studies at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1945. In 1948 he traveled to Paris, where he worked with Le Corbusier in the atelier 35, rue de Sèvres, (1948-1957). At the same time, he studied Sociology of Art and Architecture at the École Practique des Hautes Études at La Sobonne, under the tutelage of Pierre Francastel (1900-1970). In addition to his professional experience with Le Corbusier and the academic experience with Francastel, Jean Cassou (1897-1986) and the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, the architect undertook a series of trips to the south of France, Spain, North Africa and Greece to complement his training. In 1958 he returned to Colombia, where he practiced architecture for more than 50 years. From over 160 projects designed by Salmona, 73 were built.
Due to the quality and features of his oeuvre, Rogelio Salmona received the most important national and international awards and recognitions:
- “Medalla al Mérito Cultural” (Cultural Merit Medal), awarded by the Colombian Institute of Culture, 1990.
- The Prince Claus Award, The Netherlands, 1998.
- “Premio Arquitecto de Ámerica” (Architect of America Award) awarded by the Pan-American Federation of Architects Associations, Costa Rica, 1999.
- “Premio a la Trayectoria Profesional en Arquitectura” (Professional Trajectory in Architecture Award) granted at the Second Iber-American Architecture & Engineering Biennial, Mexico, 2000.
- The Alvar Aalto Medal, awarded by The Finnish Association of Architects and Alvar Aalto Foundation, 2003.
- “Orden de Boyacá en el Grado de Gran Cruz” (Order of Boyacá, Grand Cross Degree Decoration) awarded by the president of the Republic of Colombia, 2006.
- Nomination to the Pritzker Architecture Prize, 2007.
- “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (Officer of the order of the Arts and Letters), awarded by the French Government, 2007.
- “Gran Orden Ministerio de Cultura” Decoration (Grand Order of Cultural Merit), awarded by the Colombian Ministry of Culture, 2007.
- In addition to these, he received numerous awards granted at architectural biennials in Colombia between 1976 and 2000.
Since 2009, colleagues and advocates of his work created the Foundation, which was named after him and has been fundamental in honoring his memory. This Foundation has sought to preserve and promote the appreciation of his legacy, advise organizations that contribute to maintaining the conservation of his works, their vegetation and surroundings, preserve the archive and promote reflection and debate on his work in the academic community, social movements and the media in order to keep the architect's thinking and teachings alive.
Seven built projects from the oeuvre of Rogelio Salmona have been chosen to be submitted for the Tentative List, tracing a time span of half a century of work and patient pursuit. They represent his most profound ideals and are the tangible representation of those hopes and dreams of the population and society in which they are rooted. Their architectural features, composition, language and material expression have been created from his understanding and reconsideration of the modern movement, in which the architect was trained. Furthermore, by means of an careful study and reinterpretation of the history of architecture, Rogelio Salmona produced an oeuvre in which individual remembrances merge within the collective memory and where local features are integrated into the universal vision.
Each construction, with its diversity of uses, scales and solutions, has specific characteristics that contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value:
1 Residencias El Parque (The Park Residences), 1965-1970. (Bogotá, Colombia).
2 Casa del Fuerte San Juan de Manzanillo - Casa de Huéspedes Ilustres de Colombia (Guest House of Colombia), 1979-1982.
3 Archivo General de la Nación (General Archives of the Nation) 1988-1994. (Bogotá, Colombia).
4 Casa Gabriel García Márquez (House of Gabriel García Márquez) 1991-1996. (Cartagena, Colombia).
5 Edificio de Posgrados de Ciencias Humanas (Human Sciences Postgraduate Studies Building) - Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1995-2000. (Bogotá, Colombia).
6 Casa en Río Frío (House in Río Frío), 1997-2000. (Tabio, Colombia).
7 Parque y Biblioteca Virgilio Barco (Virgilio Barco Park and Public Library), 1999-2001. (Bogotá, Colombia).
These seven projects have provided conclusive responses to the needs of a large population in terms of housing, education, governance and recreation. They have made a notable contribution to the architectural heritage of humanity due to their technical and aesthetic quality, their commitment to society, their understanding of spaces and cities, and their close relationship with the landscape.
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
The serial property includes a collection of seven works and their buffer zones. It is a panorama of architectural, urban, scenic and social proposals that contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
To select the serial property, the entire oeuvre of Rogelio Salmona was previously studied. The possible projects were analyzed and those that most fully represented his philosophy and his ideals of society, the city and architecture were chosen. The chosen projects comprise a time frame that spans from the mid-20th century, when the architect began to build in Colombia, to the beginning of the 21s century. Additionally, a selection of themes, scales and uses was made: collective housing, individual housing, institutional buildings and recreational and landscape projects.
1 Residencias El Parque 1965-1970
Use: Multifamily Housing
Coordinates: 4°36'48.099"N 74°4'2.103"W
I cannot conceive architecture away from the natural element […]. Like someone who has always lived by the seaside and suddenly moves away; everything that person does afterwards will be related to water or the horizon or blue and it will always be the sea. That was what I tried to achieve with Torres del Parque (The Park Towers). R.S
Residencias El Parque is an ambitious apartment complex. It is located in an old working-class neighborhood, on the edge of the historic center of Bogota and beside the tutelary Monserrate Hill. The project revitalized the urban space and was integrated into cultural institutions of high architectural and heritage value: the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library), the Museo Nacional de Colombia (National Museum of Colombia), the Museo del Arte Moderno de Bogotá (Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá), the Planetario Distrital (District Planetarium), the bullfighting arena, and the Parque de la Independecia (the park that commemorates the national independence) —one of the emblematic meeting places of the inhabitants of the city.
It is a veritable lesson in urban planning arising as a response to the predominant models of massive serial housing. Residencias El Parque proposes a dialogue with the environment and the neighborhood. Its open spaces generate a balance between public and private areas, a central theme in his research and a determining factor in the confinement phenomena citizens faced back then and that is still prevalent in Colombian cities.
The architectural solution reveals a thorough understanding of the zone, its characteristics, and its potentialities: it weaves the previously dissociated natural landscape into the urban environment that had formerly been fragmented. The project the previously dissociated natural landscape into the urban environment, once fragmented. The project transformed what had been there into a veritable architectural landscape. Since its construction, it has become a democratic meeting place for citizens and an iconic landmark in the city. The radial composition around an active void and the variations in height that mimic the geography of the place determine the compositional principles of the project. Its implantation, shape, geometry, and structure arise as a result of the technical knowhow of the architect who integrated modernity procedures with local values, diluting the tower-platform model within a space that now provides new public areas to the city.
Nowadays, Residencias El Parque remains an example of what the city should be: an action that transforms the space, working in function of the well-being of citizens. It has created a place that provides meeting spaces and activates the community. Here architecture and the city constitute an indissoluble place, dependent on one another: The architecture achieved enriches the space of the city, and the newly created public area in turn provides added value to its architecture.
The landscape of the Sabana de Bogotá (Savannah of Bogotá) has an involving dark green mountain range on one side, and an endless light green plain on the other. The high Andean Mountain in the tropical section has a delicate air that enhances light. At sunset, a golden light illuminates the surfaces that are trapped in the facades. Residencias El Parque have the strength of the immediate presence of the Cierros Orientales (Mountain of east side of the city), but they also give the citizens the sense of belonging of a historical, natural and urban landscape.
2 Casa del Fuerte de San Juan de Manzanillo – Casa de Huéspedes Ilustres de Colombia 1978-1981
Cartagena de Indias
Coordinates: 10° 23' 36.925 "N 75° 32' 10.694 "W
When I built the Casa de Huéspedes in Cartagena, [...] I had to make it in accordance with a culture, to an existing landscape that should be enhanced while adjusting the characteristics of that architecture. What did I do? I established a relationship with the sea, the colors, the smells, the courtyards, but above all with the walled city that is fundamental in the organization of the architectural space of that project. R.S
La Casa del Fuerte de San Juan Manzanillo, also known as Casa de Huéspedes Ilustres is the residence of the president of the republic in Cartagena, alternating to their main headquarters in Bogotá. It is close to the walled city, which has unique cultural and patrimonial value and is recognized by UNESCO. The house receives visits from illustrious personalities of the political, economic, artistic and intellectual world.
The Casa de Huéspedes is the residence in Cartagena of the president of the republic, alternating with his main headquarters in Bogotá. It is beside the walled city —of unique value and cultural heritage, recognized by UNESCO. The House receives visits from illustrious guests from the political, economic, artistic, and intellectual circles.
The project is located in the Bay of Cartagena, amidst a vast vegetal environment composed of native Caribbean flora species and in continuous dialogue with the colonial heritage left by the 300-year Spanish rule. Architecture and nature in the Casa de Huéspedes were conceived simultaneously: a particular topography was created to build an extraordinary place; the vegetation and the paths are intertwined with courtyards that are mediated by full and empty spaces, by light and shadows that in turn are linked to the old ammunition depot from the colonial Spanish era. That old deposit of San Juan de Manzanillo is a memory of colonial architecture from that place. It was restored and now constitutes an integral part of the project.
The house, built around a series of courtyards, highlights, and adds value to those empty spaces of its architecture. The paths become part of the experience. The walkable roofs allow guests to see the created environment, and at a distance, they can see the walled city. The project brings the distant elements closer and erases the physical limits of architecture.
La Casa del Fuerte de San Juan Manzanillo or Casa de Huéspedes Ilustres is a work of art in which history and tradition resonate: On the one hand, the prominence of its open spaces evokes pre-Hispanic architecture, and on the other, a historical memory of local colonial building techniques through the use of coral stone, the same material that was used to build the walls of Cartagena, erected at the end of the 16th century, which are part of the Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena, declared a World Heritage Site in 1984.
3 Archivo General de la Nación 1988-1994
Use: Institutional y Cultural
Coordinates: 4°35'38.7"N 74°04'35.8"W
Regarding the Archivo General, I once said that it was a sort of eardrum of the environment. I gather the sky, I gather the sky, I cut out the mountains, the sun at noon, the sun in the afternoon that begins to create dark spaces, the shadows, and those illuminated spaces beside them. I see the clouds fade away, in short, the great spectacle of the sky enters the building. It is a water well of the sky, but it is also an eardrum of the surrounding environment. R.S.
Precisely during the period of greatest violence in the country, and in order to preserve the national memory, Rogelio Salmona was commissioned to envisage and build the Archivo general de la Nación on the southern edge of the historic center of Bogotá. Years later, after the 2016 peace process, the Archivo became an essential place for the truth, memory, justice, reparation and non-repetition system.
Salmona turns the memory of the nation into a collective meeting place: the circular patio of the building connects the community in a new way and, at the same time, collects the sounds of the environment; it is a crucial element of transition between the history and the geography of the city.
The architect carried out an investigation that culminated in the development of a new brick that would meet the technical standards required for the archives building. Thanks to the handling of vents, filters and lattices, and the ensuing temperature and humidity conditions achieved inside the building allowed it to be free of air conditioning while guaranteeing the preservation and care of the national documents including, among others, the collection titled Negros y Esclavos (Blacks and Slaves), an extensive and important testimonies about the development of the African slave trade in the territory of New Granada, inscribed as a Memory of the World by UNESCO in 1985.
That is how Rogelio Salmona solved the most important technical problems that an archive faces: ventilation, humidity and lighting. In addition to being a solid, stable and enduring building, the architect overlapped openings in the walls of the building that allowed the free flow of air between the interior and the exterior of the structure. In short, in a public building, the architect managed to combine the poetic aspects of the ephemeral with the physical necessity of what must be permanent.
4 Casa Gabriel García Márquez 1991-1996
Cartagena de Indias
Use: Family housing
Coordinates: 10°25'42.9 "N 75°32'54.0 "W
What strikes me most about a city like Cartagena is the relationship between the house and the city square, between the square and the rest of the public space. The city leaves its intimacy in the hands of the inhabitant, the traveler, the passer-by. Cartagena allows a close relationship between the house and the collective life situations. R.S.
The house built by Rogelio Salmona for the Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014) is located within the Walled City of Cartagena. The House resonates with history, with the culture of the city, and with the idiosyncrasy of the Caribbean region. It brings together two of the great artists of the country and the planet in Cartagena.
The language and spatiality of the house are inspired by the sense and poetics of the colonial and Islamic house. It recreates Arab and pre-Hispanic aromas that intertwine with the private rooms through transparencies, contiguities, the wind and its sound in an enclosure of patios with water and gardens. If the Cartagena houses create an interior landscape with patios exuberant with magic and vegetation, in this house the patios rise in progressively higher tiers to conquer and visually surpass the city walls, thus reaching the universal values of the horizon, the sky, and the sea.
The project responded to the challenge of building a house for the Nobel Prize winner, creating an itinerary of paths that the writer could inhabit, create and dream about, “[He] knows how to appreciate those things. Gabo makes a novel out of each surprise,” reminisced Salmona. This is, therefore, a true boîte à miracles since it encloses objects, souvenirs, memoirs, traces, and experiences of the writer, his family, and the innumerable and illustrious guests who visited the magical home of Garcia Marquez.
5 Edificio de Posgrados de Ciencias Humanas - Universidad Nacional de Colombia 1995-2000
Use: Institutional Educational
Coordinates: 4° 38' 2.539"N 74° 5' 11.964"W
Creation is not born from a sudden and spontaneous inspiration, but from a sublime conjunction between knowledge and experience. Momentary inspiration disappears just like the instant that inspired it. R.S.
The Edificio de Posgrados de Ciencias Humanas is in the site of the University City of Bogota or the most important public university in Colombia, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. This campus is a "city within the city", comparable to those of Caracas and Mexico (included in the UNESCO World Heritage List). Salmona placed at the service of research, knowledge, and education in the human sciences - his lifelong concerns - some of his most significant architectural findings and wagers.
The project is not a closed body. On the contrary, there is general transparency and social relations in the articulation of three courtyards of diverse geometry that create, in conjunction with the vegetation and the sky that is duplicated in the water mirror of the circular courtyard, a stimulating interior scenery for student learning. "You learn by getting lost," said Salmona. The experience of walking and remaining in the same place is enriched with the use and arrangement of materials and with the impression generated by the visual textures built by a repertoire of openwork walls, ledges, lintels, baseboards, jambs, drains, all created with ceramic bricks and pieces designed by the architect himself. The composition based on open and collective spaces affirm the maturity of the language and the architectural character of his building as an expression of the time period.
6 Casa en Río Frío 1997-2000
Use: Family housing
Coordinates: 4°56'58.034"N 74°4'58.933"W
When it comes to establishing a relationship between architecture and landscape, memory is essential. My childhood memories are mostly recollections of gardens, fragrances of aromatic plants, clay flower pots, water. [...]. We liked the smell of wet earth. We discovered the various plants, some described by Humboldt as epidendrums of different colors, with their flowers growing into the air, the best known and the most secret (…). From an early age I knew that that place would be my dwelling, where I would build my house. R.S.
The house in Río Frío embodies a deep relationship with the environment and masterfully responds to the creation of the landscape. The layout and composition of the project —the architect’s own house— is the answer to a patient pursuit, a persevering labor of more than twenty years. This work is a counterpoint, an experimental model, and inspiration for others on their projects.
The diagonal axis of the composition, the courtyards with subtle perspective rotations and fractures, and the sudden changes in orientation… all of these announce the place; they cause tensions between the inside and the outside, forcing the senses to be activated, and creating a rich corporeal experience.
Walking through the house constitutes a pleasant and calm experience. The work of the architect in this space highlights, once again, his sensitivity towards the earth and the enormous importance that he always ascribed to the treatment of light. Wandering slowly across this abode concatenates the physical and sensory components: outside, walking on the roof with the expressiveness of its vaults; inside, in its continuous spaces configured by other intermediate spaces that are directly related to the juxtaposed patios.
His prior and intimate understanding of the place made possible a true immersion in the land: architecture and terrain establish a deep symbiosis; it is achieved by the space that was created and by the existential needs of the inhabitant in his world.
7 Parque y Biblioteca Virgilio Barco 1999-2001
Use: Institutional Cultural Recreational
Coordinates: 4°39'26.027"N 74°5'18.583"W
In all my projects I have always strived to find a limit in the architectural spatiality. I’m not saying a limit in the land or on the surface, that's not the problem. It is a limit with respect to spatiality. A limit that can be the sky, infinity, a transparency that allows the dimension to have an end but from which, at that point, another element appears or arises later. R.S.
The Parque y Biblioteca Virgilio Barco is part of a set of spaces with high symbolic value for culture, education, recreation, and sports in Bogotá. Among them is the Parque Simón Bolivar, which is the largest meeting place for the citizens of Bogota and all visitors to the city. The project comprises the construction, in areas of high social vulnerability, of four mega-libraries and their respective parks. This endeavor sought to promote processes of social transformation through knowledge, reading, and art, especially among young people, children, and the elderly.
Located in the geographical heart of Bogota, in a large site the public library and park synthesize the phenomena, relationships, places and paths that constitute an urban complex. It is the Bogota savannah at its most abstract degree: establishing the interaction between the ground, the mountains, and the sky. This decontextualization links the project to a distant landscape that serves as backdrop. It evades the urban image that looms in the foreground and instead builds a unique place, a true recipient of all the geographical and astral echoes of the city.
Gatherings, collective activities, and their tense and abrupt assembly characterize the composition of the Parque y Biblioteca Virgilio Barco. This is determined by urban composition relationships: the confluence between the radial system and the Cartesian grid as well as the counterpoint between covered and open spaces —between simultaneous processes of contraction and expansion— strive to reconcile the old city with the modern one and, in this way, project the contemporary city.
These seven works by Rogelio Salmona are links in a half-century long chain of work and research. It is an architecture of reality that opposes the architecture of profitability and speculation.
- An architecture that seeks to recover the significant elements and values of traditions, while relying on geography and the needs of its inhabitants.
- An architecture that integrates nature, the one that proposes the recovery of the landscape, not only as a whole, but as a framework in which architecture is inserted, highlighting the importance of the characteristics of the places that find in the landscape its most subtle element.
- An architecture that is aware of the urban context, the environment and the respect for the places and for the existing heritage in order to help preserve the city and the public space. This is where topology and perception take precedence: urban wealth is a function of the richness and the variety of meanings that compose it.
- An architecture that criticizes the trivialization and undifferentiated repetition of the international style while relying on the most consistent features of the modern movement. It achieves a symbiosis between cultured and popular architecture to produce integral solutions and its own language, taking advantage of the possibilities given by the singular elements of vernacular architecture. It is a singular and universal architecture at the same time; a symbiosis of functional, affective and aesthetic elements.
The following is the sum of elements that enrich the Outstanding Universal Value of the oeuvre of Rogelio Salmona.
Criterion (ii): The architectural work of Rogelio Salmona produces an exchange of cultural values which seeks to integrate the city and create collective spaces. It expresses a profound recognition of the natural and urban landscape and promotes the transformation rather than the modification of the place.
His work produces an exchange of values around the conception of the public space. It contributes to the thought of an open and democratic city. It is a heritage asset that represents history and collective memory and reflects the pursuit of a more plural and equitable society. It fulfills the role of communicating the cultural values of an era. There is a permanent attitude of social commitment within the framework of constant principles that are rooted in the 20th century and projected into the 21st century. It is worth noting that Rogelio Salmona did not limit himself to a single school of thought: he defined and strengthened a political, ethical and poetic position on architecture and visualized the socio-cultural conditions of Latin America based on an understanding of the world.
Interpreting a historical urban landscape with architecture is exceptional. It is not a matter of correctly respecting the determinations of the climate and the context, but of something much more ambitious, it is about translating into sensory spaces an understanding of the world and identifying with the geographical destiny of the place and the land inhabited. That is why the architectural works of Salmona highlighted here constitute a profound cultural identity with which Colombia enriches the world heritage.
Criterion (iv): The work of Rogelio Salmona witnesses a specific time and society. It offers a new perspective on how to conceive collective and family housing, public and institutional buildings and their relationship with the urban environment. This reconciles and enriches Western traditions with those of the Mesoamerican world, a process of his own personal experimentation that established a material, formal and expressive language. The same territory recreated in multiple landscapes. A way of translating spaces, with all their historical and emotional burden, to convey it into a language of its own that articulates with them, in a historical urban landscape. Rogelio Salmona deeply appreciated thorough work that is part of a tradition: the "know-how" was for him a "know-how to create" and a "know-how to think''. According to Salmona work and thought were the same scenario where the city and the citizens converged. The architect and society ahead of all circumstantial and aesthetic connotations.
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
- The conditions of authenticity of the individual components of the serial property have been maintained from the moment of their construction in their material, symbolic and technical expression and in their relationship with the environment, in addition to preserving their original uses in most cases.
- Minor maintenance actions have been based on an exhaustive investigation and reviewed and approved by professionals in charge of each project management system. In general, modifications have been reasonable, proportionate and careful.
- In each of the works, the relationship with its surroundings, the city or the territory is appropriately preserved: in general, the conservation of the natural elements conceived in the works has been adequate, as well as the relationship between the buildings and their surroundings.
- The compositional and aesthetic qualities of the buildings have remained over time, proof of the quality and technical rigor of the works.
- The conditions of the serial property as a whole, as well as each of the individual works have been maintained and reflect the Exceptional Universal Value.
To illustrate their values, the nominated serial property and its buffer zones include a full range of urban, architectural, natural and social components.
- The boundaries of the proposed components allow for an accurate representation of the relationships between the buildings and their surroundings in relation to broader natural environments.
- Due to the management systems of all the constructions, in addition to the ownership and commitment of the inhabitants, the integrity of most of the works and their environment is adequate.
- Changes in the urban environment have not had a detrimental effect on the properties of the selected works.
- One of the most important objectives of these architectural projects was to take root in deteriorating areas and contribute to their recovery. Nowadays, these places and environments no longer represent danger. That is what Rogelio Salmona wanted: for his works to transform the places, to heal them, to connect with the natural environment and promote the development of their buffer zones.
The works of Rogelio Salmona are protected by legal means of conservation and urban planning control.
Comparison with other similar properties
Rogelio Salmona's sharp perception of reality and his critical thinking make him a universal man: he relies on his Semitic origins, the Arab world, the Romanesque style and the European Renaissance, as well as the modern movement in Latin America and the Caribbean and the possibilities offered by popular and vernacular architecture.
At the time of his return to Colombia, Salmona knew it was important to implement certain premises of the modern movement in Latin America and the Caribbean, but above all to rethink and overcome others: it was imperative to consider the local geographical, historical, social and technical conditions, as well as to provide the city and society with a collective memory.
When he returns to South America, he complements his learning and begins a rediscovery of pre-Hispanic architecture. The open space of the ceremonial Mesoamerican centers became a fundamental element in the composition of his projects. In this way, his understanding of the modernization process of Latin American cities and their real needs was strengthened by the knowledge and use of cultured and popular tradition.
The following are comparable examples of the cases proposed in this series:
Some of Salmona's most notable social housing projects were financed by state institutions. Collective social housing was a relevant contribution of the modern movement: innovative formal and typological alternatives of housing complexes and units were developed during the 20th century and became the most modern-driven trend.
The collective housing proposed by Salmona can be compared to the Unité d'habitation, in Marseille (included the World Heritage List), a prototype of a new housing model based on the balance between the individual and collective life, which also explores the minimal housing unit. It can also be compared to the Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Hufeisensiedlung (included the World Heritage List), a project that took the interaction of urban structure, architecture and private and public green spaces as a guideline, which is also emblematic of the role of the State in the historical development of modern residential construction.
The principles of the modern European movement reached Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1950s and 1960s, with notable examples in all its countries. This is the case of the Prefeito Mendes de Moraes Housing Complex (Pedregulho), in Rio de Janeiro (1952). Although nowadays it is difficult to find housing complexes so well preserved after so many years -like those of Salmona-, this Brazilian complex, despite its deterioration, is comparable to the ones presented here: the project creates a new landscape from the singularity of the geography and there is a masterful conjunction of the urban, architectural and social projects.
The private house of Salmona is comparable to Luis Barragán's Studio House (included on the World Heritage List) and Alvar Aalto's experimental house (Muuratsalo).
The educational and cultural buildings are comparable to those of the Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas and the Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (both included on the World Heritage List) and the University City of Bogota (included on the Tentative List). In all three cases, campus development began between 1930 and 1950, and their buildings reflect the modern trends prevailing at the time. However, over the years, the buildings underwent transformations and acquired a new identity that responded to the cultural and political thinking of recent years and to the reassessment of pedagogical approaches and their architectural materialization.
The cultural and recreational buildings are comparable to some of finnish architect Alvar Aalto's projects: the Seinäjoki Civic Center (1951-1968), the Finlandia Hall (1967-1971) and the House of Culture (1952-1958). They have in common the relationship with the landscape and the urban environment, the space sequences and the interpretation of local traditions, in close interaction with modern architecture and in force in today's architecture (traditional elements become contemporary facts). They are also comparable to The Work of Engineer Eladio Dieste: Church of Atlántida Church (1917 - 2000), included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.