Taller Tropical Moravia 2.0
Medellín, Colombia
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finalist 2021
Location:
Medellín, Colombia
Category:
education
Phase:
design development
Updated:
30 September 2021
The community center is dedicated to cultural activities and environmental education. It was developed in co-production among the local community of Moravia, Medellín, and architects from Berlin. A small-scale prototype ran successfully from 2018-2021, hosting a multitude of events with over 10.000 visitors. The new project will upscale the concept combining a cooking school, a recycling FabLab, artists residencies, and a multi-use roof terrace.
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Introduction
The project is rooted in the informal neighborhood Moravia in Medellín. Founded in the 60’s by displaced families from all over Colombia, it has undergone an extraordinary transformation process, from a stigmatized slum to a safe and productive living space. Even though it is a hopeful example for the inherent potential of informal neighborhoods, its future is threatened by major urban renovation plans that project to relocate more than 30.000 of its 45.000 habitants. 

Since 2017 a collective of community leaders from Moravia and architects from Berlin has been operating an initiative to bring different stakeholders of the city together on site, in order to research, discuss, design and build together, and contribute to bridging the gap between bottom up initiatives and top down planning. In multidisciplinary summer schools at the intersection of academic workshops and community festivals, habitants, students, planners, artists, civil organizations and actors from public and private sector have co-produced interventions in the public space.

The exchange has shown decision makers informal neighborhoods as a crucial solution rather than a source of conflict. And it has developed tools for community driven change, enabling habitants to become agents in the transformation of their living space. Several realized interventions have changed everyday life in the community. The most impactful has been the forerunner of our challenge: the Taller Tropical Moravia.
Summer School Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Impact
The first Taller Tropical consisted of an open multi-use class room built in bamboo, a mobile kitchen and a community garden. During 2,5 years more than 10.000 users from all ages participated in its programs such as talks, concerts, cultural events, art projects, open air cinema, community meetings, cooking classes, and many more. As the rental contract expired we had to dismantle the temporary structure. Fortunately we could agree on acquiring a lot where the process can continue. The new concept builds upon the learnings of the former space and emphasizes on the pressing issues of nutrition and quality education. Malnutrition as well as unhealthy alimentation habits are major challenges in Moravia. Our cooking school will offer classes for healthy nutrition and a balanced diet for school kids of the area. In a FabLab for innovative construction and recycling solutions, habitants can learn to process waste materials in sustainable and profitable ways. Artist residencies foster cultural exchange and knowledge transfer. The roof terrace will be a multi-use open space, self organized by the community and used for a range of activities from workshops to medical and psychological assistance, community meetings, etc. The new Taller Tropical is projected as an innovative center for experimental, hands-on education, benefiting a population of 45.000 inhabitants of which one quarter is 14 years or younger. The building will be designed as a sustainable prototype to test affordable low-tech solutions in an informal context, supporting Moravias path towards a Sustainable Community.
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Core team
Our initiative goes back to 2013, when a group of friends from Berlin traveled to Medellín to learn about urban informality. By chance we ended up living in the notorious neighborhood of Moravia. Half a year in its dense habitant and vibrant community had a profound impact on our professional perspectives as becoming architects. We got to know leaders like Cielo Holguín, who let us live with her family, and learned from her tireless commitment for the community. The genesis of Moravia and the current need for action regarding it's unclear future motivated us to start a project in 2017. Since then our team has steadily grown with the challenges. Cielo is still the local anchor and good soul of the project. She has learned english and, together with Albert Kreisel, gained an Echoing Green Fellowship for social leaders. She is currently studying on a scholarship at the Eafit University for Urban and Environmental Studies, further expanding her skillset to represent her community. Albert and Max Becker manage the project between Berlin and Medellín. Nina Pawlicki and Tobias Schrammek link the project to the TU Berlin. Dubian Monsalve is an artist from the community who colours up our interventions. He also illustrated our bilingual publication Moravia Manifesto. Cleyda Murillo is a community mother and leads the cooking courses. Roberto Rodelo is the all-rounder craftsman in our team. Elsy Torreglosa leads our urban gardening program. The mutual long term commitment in our team across continents is the key prerequisite for our continuous, trustful and successful work.
Oasis Urbano collective

image: Matthew Crabbe | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Image gallery
Escaleras Oasis Tropical 2017

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Escaleras Oasis Tropical 2017 - before intervention

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Escaleras Oasis Tropical 2017 after construction

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Escaleras Oasis Tropical 2017

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Community Garden Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Community Garden Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Community Garden Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Cocina Popular Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Cocina Popular Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Cocina Popular Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Miguel 2021

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Mosaico de Moravia 2021

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano)Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Mosaico de Moravia 2021

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2018

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Technical drawings
Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Taller Tropical Moravia 2021

image: Alejandro Arteaga | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Help bring our project to life!
29 September 2021
new video about our project with testimonials
This extended version of our video pitch includes testimonials of users and colaborators of the project.
Community leaders, activists, academics, and public decision makers share insights on their experience with the protoype Taller Tropical, and why such open spaces for experimental education and culture are essential tools for community driven development.
They also make share their vision for the new project, make their wishes and an invitation.
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7 September 2021
Another € 4,995 raised
7 September 2021
Another € 5 raised
Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
We have identified an ideal building lot for the new Taller Tropical in Moravia and reached an agreement with the owning family. A preliminary contract has been signed and now we are mounting a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funding required to buy the land. At the same time we are activating our networks in Colombia, the US and Germany to invite the partners and supporters of our project again as well as new collaborators, such as foundations, universities, and other institutions, to take part in the financing, planning, construction and organisation of the new Taller Tropical. Simultaneously we are working on the design proposal, the selection of materials and constructive solutions.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
30% funding already raised
40% expertise already found
10% materials / equipment already found
50% builders already found
Finance: € 23,000
With your support we can buy the lot and develop a center for education, health and culture in Moravia. A wide range of programs and activities, ranging from cooking classes to arts courses, from gardening workshops to dance classes, will benefit a diverse community of 45.000 habitants. A melting pot where local knowledge and global expertise of visitors and invited experts will open new horizons. Organized by community leaders it will offer space for local initiatives and new opportunities for the community. As a sustainable prototype in a tropical informal context the house will inspire local building processes and support Moravia’s transformation towards a sustainable neighborhood.
  • Land acquisition
23,000
Skills: PR & Marketing
Our team combines the empiric knowledge of commited community leaders with the teaching and building experience of architects and designers for a participatory design and planning process. Further we can count on a grown network of partners and experts in Medellín that supports us to solve technical, political and legal issues. Long-standing partners in both countries will help us raise an essential part of the funding but we also have to acquire new partners and develop a crowdfunding campaign to reach the necessary financial volume. In this context a successful PR and marketing strategy is crucial to raise our reach and impact. Here we can use support as we lack experience in this field.
Cielo Holguin in an interview about our project

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Stuff: Materials
Following our approach to develop the new Taller Tropical Moravia as a sustainable prototype focussing on low tech solutions and sustainable use of materials, we are planning to build the four storey space as a wood and bamboo construction. While we will reuse the stored bamboo of the previous Taller Tropical for the roof construction of the terrace on the fourth floor, we will try to also find a way to develop the constructive system of the building in wood. Even if half of the country is covered with forest, wood constructions are hard to find in Colombia. Therefore we see a great potential to create an impactful sustainable role model but are facing the difficulty to find proper enterprises for the required quality, size and length of the material. With your support we aspire to identify a progressive wood manufacturer interested to support the project and jointly develop an innovative prototype that fits the legal and technical requirements and at same time provides affordable and simple constructive solutions that can easily be applied and replicated in Moravia and other informal contexts of the Global South.
Detail Taller Tropical Moravia

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Hands
As mentioned in the previous section we are planning to use natural materials such as wood and bamboo. While we have various local collectives working with bamboo in our network, we are missing such local expertise regarding wood construction. We would appreciate the support of volunteer builders skilled in this field to help us develop the construction, and lead and instruct the participating students as well as the local workers. By qualifying them in a new building technique they afterwards can spread their knowledge and skills to influence local building processes. 
Construction of the Taller Tropical Moravia 2017

image: Maximilian Becker (Oasis Urbano) | CC-BY_black.png some rights reserved
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Help bring our project to life!
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