Venezuela Architecture

By | December 16, 2021

In the Venezuelan architecture and urban planning of the Eighties there is a tendency to elaborate typologies and details in full compliance with the environmental conditions and pre-existing structures. The development of this new orientation contrasts the importation of models, which in Venezuela were often used without care of the context and, as a consequence of the wealth generated by oil, with pomp. Caracas and Maracaibo, where foreign influences were more evident, had a convulsive growth during the economic boom, which ignored the urban order and the architectural testimonies: now in these two cities few traces of the past remain, surrounded by expansion building.

In Caracas, even with private interventions, residential complexes for the wealthy and middle classes have arisen, to which the spontaneous architectures of the poor neighborhoods are a counterpoint. Despite the perennial spring weather, the outdoor gathering places have had little development. Centros Comerciales, of American influence, especially citadels, which incorporate living and working places, as well as the most varied services in covered spaces, served as areas for walking and meeting. In the buildings built in Caracas up to the 1970s, one can see a strong link with the design assumptions and formal results of Modernism, from the functionalist to the organicist; there is some adoption of Buckmister Fuller-style technological systems, Brazilian footprints, and austerities reminiscent of the first Ph. Johnson. Among the interventions of this period, the Centro Simón Bolívar, by C. Domínguez (project, 1946-48; construction, 1949-54); the Banco Central de Venezuela, by T. and E. Sanabria (1967); La Predora, by P. Lasala, J. Koifman, B. Borges, F. Pimentel (project 1969; produced in 1972); the Polyhedron, by J. Alcock, a structure of Synergetic Inc. (project 1972; construction 1974); the Banco Metropolitano (project 1972-74) and the Orinoco Organization, by JM Galia; the Colegio de Médicos, by G. Guazzo (project 1972; construction 1974). Also worth mentioning are: the Banaven Center, by E. Gómez; the Torre Europa, by C. Gómez de Llarena and M. Fuentes; the Torre David, by M. Fuentes; El Universal, by B. Borges and F. Pimentel; El Helicoide, by J. Romero G. and D. Bornhost. Very active at the moment is FG Beckhoff, which is essentially dedicated to the construction of residential complexes for the affluent classes. At the same time, there were significant positions on the dialectical relationship between planning and territory. In the case of the architect F. Vivas, the result is a spatiality with popular remembrances, both in the constructions in humble materials and in those with metal structures (árboles para vivir). For Venezuela 2007, please check extrareference.com.

The language based on imported models was already replaced in the seventies, and in the following decade, reflections aimed at defining the object through solutions suited to the place and tested over time: in architecture, light filters, dim areas, natural ventilation, recovery of the internal patio, exposed bricks, clay coatings, etc.; in urban planning, orthogonality and emphasis on pedestrian spaces; in landscaping, enhancement of the morphology of the territory and of the tropical flora.

Among the buildings worth mentioning in Caracas are the Simón Bolívar Airport, by L. Sully and F. Montemayor (project 1970-73; construction 1970-75); the residential complexes Doral Castellana (project 1986; construction 1988) and Los Chorros, by C. Bentata; the Bottome House, by J. Alcock (project 1987; construction 1990); the Atrium palace, by E. Diquez, O. González, JA Rivas (project 1987; construction 1988); the Palazzo Fosforera Venezolana, by H. de Garay (project 1988; construction 1990). In the province, the Benedictine Abbey, in Güigüe (Carabobo), by J. Tenreiro-Degwitz (project 1984-85; construction 1986-89) and the Carbones del Orinoco industrial building, in Ciudad Bolívar (Carabobo), by J. Rigamonti (1988 project; built 1990). For the El Parque de Cristal building, in Caracas, J. Alcock and R. Collevecchio, with the advice of R. Giurgola (project 1980-81; construction 1983-85), they adopt advanced technologies to recreate favorable internal climatic conditions. As a consequence of the awareness of the place and its history, the concern arose to protect and enhance works such as those of M. Mujica Millán (1897-1963), a rationalist close to Neoplasticism in the Thirties and subsequently inspired by E. Mendelsohn. The setting up of the Fundación Museo de Arquitectura in Caracas in 1988 and the new INAVI policy (As a consequence of the awareness of the place and its history, the concern arose to protect and enhance works such as those of M. Mujica Millán (1897-1963), a rationalist close to Neoplasticism in the Thirties and subsequently inspired by E. Mendelsohn. The setting up of the Fundación Museo de Arquitectura in Caracas in 1988 and the new INAVI policy (As a consequence of the awareness of the place and its history, the concern arose to protect and enhance works such as those of M. Mujica Millán (1897-1963), a rationalist close to Neoplasticism in the Thirties and subsequently inspired by E. Mendelsohn. The setting up of the Fundación Museo de Arquitectura in Caracas in 1988 and the new INAVI policy (Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda).

To remedy the disjointed development in Caracas, several urban projects have been launched since the 1980s with the aim of re-sewing parts of the city using the traditional orthogonal mesh layout established during the Spanish colonial regime by the Leyes de Indias.. The Parque Paseo Vargas, by C. Gómez de Llarena and M. Benacerraf (project 1985), places a connecting axis in the city center along which the new headquarters of the Galería de arte nacional, the sculpture garden of the Museo de contemporary art Sofía Imber (by N. Sidorkovs and N. Quintero), the Pre-Columbian Museum, the Academia de Bellas Artes Cristóbal Rojas. Once the car movement is guaranteed, the pedestrian area is recovered with equal commitment, thus returning the city to its primary connotation of social place, in opposition to the previous criterion which considered it as a function of vehicles. Similarly, the boulevard La Franja Ruiz Pineda (project 1987; construction 1989), architectural design by M. Delgado, who also participates in the urban project with B. Alfaro and D. Silvestro, should be noted: the boulevard, built in a degraded area, is based on the most advanced architectural and urban planning assumptions. The construction of the underground, the first section of which was inaugurated on January 2, 1983, in addition to partially solving the traffic problem, acts as a link between the various parts of the city; the stations also serve as meeting places, an operation of vital importance from an urban planning point of view. The stations Petare, by M. Pedemonte (project 1987; construction 1988), and Parque del Este, by F. Jordán, G. Niño, L. Sapene, are an example of designing according to climate, light and other characteristics tropical. The criterion followed for the entire underground network was to find elements of homogeneity and at the same time diversification of each space; to this end, the inclusion of works by Venezuelan artists in the stations and in the external areas was particularly useful. After the experience of integration or “síntesis de las artes”, of the Ciudad Universitaria of CR Villanueva (1900-1975; see App. IV,iii, pp. 816 and 824), this subway is the largest participation of artists in an architectural and urban project carried out in Venezuela.

In addition to the traditional green areas of Caracas, such as the El Calvario parks (inaugurated in 1873 with the name of Paseo Independencia) and Los Caobos, the Central and del Este parks have been added. The first houses a complex of buildings begun to be built in 1966 (on the third pedestrian level there is a garden by the Brazilian R. Burle Marx), which also houses the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, and connects to the adjacent cultural area: Ateneo, by G. Legorburu (1973 project; built in 1979); Complejo cultural Teresa Carreño, by T. Lugo Marcano, D. Kunckel, J. Sandoval; Galería de arte nacional and Museo de bellas artes, by CR Villanueva. The Parque del Este, 80 hectares in the city center, was designed in 1959-63 by C. Guinand Sandoz and Burle Marx,

The architecture of gardens has acquired considerable importance and, in keeping with the trends already felt in the 1970s, enhances the landscape and tropical flora. The studio of E. Robles Piquer and P. Vallone created, among other things, the park of the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas; the Caricuao Zoo, inaugurated in 1977; the recovery, restoration and extension of the El Calvario park (project 1981; construction 1985); the green of Parque Paseo Vargas, with J. Stoddart and F. Tábora. The aesthetic redevelopment and expansion of the function of a hydroelectric plant as a recreational area is the novelty of the Plaza del Sol y la Luna, in Guri (Bolívar), by E. Fontana de Añez and L. Avila de Delgado (project and construction 1986).

The Venezuelan champion of modular prefabricated plastic systems was J. Castillo; the most significant applications are found in Caracas, Valencia and in the islet of Los Monjes.

Venezuela Architecture