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Water Reservoirs as Public Park, Medellin, Colombia


From a multidisciplinary vantage point, this project for a public park in Medellín, Colombia, centers on the creation of spaces around and above a series of water reservoirs. Tracing the site’s history, the architectural form takes its inspiration from the surrounding topography as well as from the structure of the existing tanks and pools, resulting in an intervention with minimal environmental impact. 

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Considering the infrastructural use of the site, special attention is given to water management, which utilizes recycling technologies that involve rainwater and grey water harvesting through simple systems for the irrigation of the park. In an interaction between nature and the urban landscape, the park seeks to improve the quality of life in the city.

Construction strategies: The construction technology was based on the use of available local materials and resources within a rationalized construction method, allowing active local knowledge with easy labor training programs, and promoting community participation in low-risk construction activities. The materials favor efficient use of resources, applying alternative building materials for the structure, public space and overall furniture – such as recycled concrete, old tires, concrete pipes and plastic.

Waste management: A waste control program was designed to facilitate and promote selective collection of glass, paper and cardboard to use in recycled arts and crafts projects, increasing environmental awareness within the community. Furthermore, green waste is managed by composting and manual processing.

Water management: The project is conceived from the perspective of rational use of water resources, applying different methods for low water use. This water management program utilizes recycling technologies that involve rainwater and grey water harvesting for gardening purposes through simple treatment systems.

Lighting and energy efficiency: Visual comfort conditions were designed using natural light and the efficient use of energy. Understanding the relationship of the eye to natural light is critical to the perception and production of environmental quality. The energy demand of the project will be reduced by the use of non-conventional energy with an economically viable proposal that produces real benefits. The use of photovoltaic panels, skylights and surfaces that reflect light decreases the operating cost of the building in the medium and long term.

Thermal comfort and energy efficiency: Thermal comfort involves temperature, relative humidity and several factors such as local climatic conditions, cultural clothing and individual activities. The bioclimatic design strategies intend to generate comfort zones within a range of 18 to 25°C with a relative humidity of 20 to 80%. The project was designed with permeable walls throughout the perimeter of the building that allow cross ventilation. The courtyards enable air exchange and the evacuation of hot air by convection. Finally, solar protection is provided by the green roof and eaves overhang, generating shadowed areas that improve indoor comfort conditions.

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