Architecture of Colombia

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Colombia's architectural heritage includes Spanish colonial architecture including Catholic churches. Its modern architecture represents various International Style architecture. In the postmodern architecture era a wave of innovate and striking buildings have been designed.

Colombian cultural heritage includes indigenous, European, Indian and African influences. The country's colonial buildings reflect their Spanish (and particularly Andalusian origin, as seen in the traditional single-story) houses laid around a central patio, to be found both in colonial towns such as Santafé (Bogotá), Tunja or Cartagena, or in rural haciendas throughout the country. After gaining its independence, Colombia severed its links with Spain and looked elsewhere for new models, first England, then France,[1] marking the beginning of what became known as Republican Architecture (Arquitectura republicana), an era that lasted well into the twentieth century, when the changes in architectural thinking in Europe brought Modern Architecture to the country during the last years before World War II.

Prominent Colombian architects include Rafael Esguerra, Daniel Bermúdez, Giancarlo Mazzanti, Rogelio Salmona, Álvaro Barrera, Patricio Samper Gnecco, Bruce Graham, Laureano Forero Ochoa, Pedro Nel Gómez, Raúl Fajardo Moreno, Rafael Esguerra, Arturo Robledo Ocampo and Simón Vélez. Firms include plan:B.

Jorge Arango, Andres Cortes, Jaime Correa and Felipe Hernandez (architect) were born in Colombia. Bruce Graham worked in Colombia.[citation needed] Expats such as Leopold Rother worked in Colombia.

Pre-Columbian period[edit]

Modern reconstruction of the Temple of the Sun at the Archaeology Museum of Sogamoso, Boyacá

The Pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continent, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during the Early Modern period.

While the phrase "pre-Columbian era" literally refers only to the time preceding Christopher Columbus's voyages of 1492, in practice the phrase is usually used to denote the entire history of indigenous Americas cultures until those cultures were exterminated, diminished, or extensively altered by Europeans, even if this happened decades or centuries after Columbus's first landing. For this reason the alternative terms of Precontact Americas, Pre-Colonial Americas or Prehistoric Americas are also in use. In areas of Latin America the term usually used is Pre-Hispanic.

Many pre-Columbian civilizations established hallmarks which included permanent settlements, cities, agriculture, civic and monumental architecture, major earthworks, and complex societal hierarchies. Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European colonies and the arrival of enslaved Africans (c. late 16th–early 17th centuries),[2] and are known only through archaeological investigations and oral history. Other civilizations were contemporary with the colonial period and were described in European historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya civilization, had their own written records. Because many Christian Europeans of the time viewed such texts as heretical, men like Diego de Landa destroyed many texts in pyres, even while seeking to preserve native histories. Only a few hidden documents have survived in their original languages, while others were transcribed or dictated into Spanish, giving modern historians glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge.

Indigenous American cultures continue to evolve after the Columbian era. Many of these peoples and their descendants continue traditional practices while evolving and adapting new cultural practices and technologies into their lives.

Colonial period[edit]

Colombian architecture reflects seventeenth-century Spanish colonial origins. Regional differences derive from those found in Spain. Thus, hints of Moorish and Castilian architecture are evident in many cities. Many areas have had difficulty maintaining older structures, and the climate has destroyed many Baroque buildings. The many churches that dot the landscape are among the country's architectural gems, whose interiors reflect the influence of Medieval and Renaissance churches in Spain. Newer buildings in larger cities utilize modern styles with adaptations of the Baroque style supplemented with wood and wrought-iron elements.

Republican (Republicano) period[edit]

Painted ceiling and Murano chandelier at Teatro Colón, Bogotá. One of the finest, most lavish examples of Colombian architecture of the Republican period.

Modern architecture in Colombia[edit]

In the 1930s, Colombia began to embrace modern architecture. The new Liberal Party government tore down many older buildings to reject the conservative past. In their place, it constructed modern buildings with an international flavor.

Housing developments[edit]

Until the mid-1940s, most Colombians lived in single-family dwellings built of cinder blocks and covered with an adobe made of clay, cow manure, and hay.[citation needed] Uncontrolled urban growth due to massive migration from rural areas resulted in large unplanned settlements in cities. There have been a few notable examples of high-density housing projects, but most are targeted to the rising middle-class. These include the Centro Antonio Nariño, which followed the principles of Le Corbusier and the Torres del Parque by architect Rogelio Salmona.




Some of the most important buildings in Colombia are:

Historic heritage[edit]



Cartagena-Santa Marta[edit]

Cúcuta-Villa del Rosario[edit]


Guadua architecture[edit]

Architectural styles in Colombia[edit]

Colonial architecture in Colombia[edit]

Neoclassical architecture in Colombia[edit]

Romanesque Revival architecture[edit]

Gothic Revival architecture[edit]

Neo-Mudéjar architecture[edit]

Art Deco architecture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Banco de la República. La arquitectura republicana en Cartagena. Available online at [1]. Consulted 09-11-2010
  2. ^ "Early European Settlements in North America". Tripline. Retrieved 2017-05-06.