The Workshop 2018

Cartagena de Indias

Founded in 1533 has been declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Like most major Latin American cities, Cartagena has lacked a clear urban framework to guide its planning and expansion. The main drivers for the city’s urban development have been its industrial port and the maximum profitability of private real estate operations. The result is a fragmented city, insufficiently connected and scarcely related to its natural surroundings.


Additionally, the city has been poorly managed. Paradoxically, Cartagena’s port area handles 60% of the maritime trade of the country, over 2.500 industries thataccount for 6% of the national GDP, and increasing investments in the tourism sector that consolidate its position as one of the Colombian cities with the greatest international projection.

Cartagena’s population currently reaches close to one million people and it is expected to double by 2050. In the next thirty two years a new city to house one million people will have to be built within and around Cartagena. In its new POT (Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial – Land Management Plan), the local Planning Department foresees areas of urban and suburban expansion North of the city. New projects are beginning to crop up already. Developments will eventually surround the La Virgen
Mangrove Swamp, cutting it off from its catchment area and destroying the remaining mangrove areas.


In addition, Plan 4C (Cartagena Competitiva y Compatible con el Clima – A competitive and climate-compatible Cartagena) foresees that the sea level will rise fifteen to twenty centimeters by 2040, as well as an increasing trend in the probability of occurrence and intensity of extreme storm events, and an increase on 1.2 degrees Centigrade in temperature due to climate change. These projections imply that the city would be continuously flooded at its borders with crisis scenarios that would affect more than 300,000 inhabitants and cause enormous losses.

The Cartagena
architecture studio

Organized by the Universidad de Los Andes, will propose future scenarios for the development and protection of the city. The design studio will focus on coastal resilience and will provide opportunities for architects, planners and landscape architects to develop projects at the regional and local scales. Through design exercises, the studio will give back to Cartagena a new set of ideas that will help the city gain awareness of the fact that its natural heritage is part of its main system of protection and resilience.




During the mapping phase, students will examine the different coastal types present in Cartagena. While visiting the site, students will identify the existing ecosystems, how water is present, the social component as well as forms of settlement. The site study will follow design methods which will be introduced in a workshop during the first two days of the Studio. Students will consign their observations on specialized maps. During a charrette students will define a proposal to intervene the site.  The proposal will be reviewed at the end of the phase.

Concept Development.

During the concept development phase, students will work towards a more structured proposal. This will be done through gathering additional information needed and through the design of possible alternatives. These alternatives will be continuously revised during the stage and eventually students will decide on one of these iterations to continue developing.  This selected iteration will be reviewed at the end of the phase and recommendations for further development given.


In the materialization phase, students will fully develop a design proposal.  The scope of the final project will be one or more of the following: architecture project, urban design, urban plan, services, intervention tools or policy making recommendations.  Deliverables will be determined based on the chosen scope of the project.  During this stage students will have direct access to experts in each of the fields.  The final project will be presented on the last day of the Studio.




Tuesday, July 3rd


Initial proposal

Thursday, July 5th



Friday, July 13th


Final review

Friday 20th and Saturday 21st of July


  • Student presentations.
  • Introductory lectures to each of the phases
  • Lectures by both professors and special guests on specific topics related to each phase
  • Studio work under tutor supervision
  • Site Visits


See the schedule of the workshop