LOCATION // Medellín, Colombia.

CLIENT // RutaN + City of Medellin +  Medellin Innovation Festival

YEAR // 2013 + 2014

STATUS // Completed

PROGRAM  // Civic Design

FUNCTION //  Public Space

RutaN, the Medellin based centre for innovation in partnership with the City of Medellin invites James Brazil, Fabio Lopez, Rafael Machado and Nicholas Waissbluth representing the National University of Colombia-Medellín, FabLab UNAL, Blokcad Lab and uAbureau to create a city-wide civic design-build program entitled “INSITU: Comuna Innova” (Innovation District). The program was developed as the framework for the inaugural Medellin Innovation Festival, created with the goal of developing in parallel, 21 public-space projects throughout each of Medellin’s 16 central districts (comunas) and 5 regional communities (corregimientos).

Comuna Innova is a project that is based on community engagement, working with citizens and exploring new technologies all with the common goal to ameliorate public space in Medellin. The coordinating team was supported by over fifty community liaisons, local designers and builders where they collaborated with citizens from all 21 communities creating a regional civic planning strategy developed through social participatory design.

Comuna Innova is a social and collaborative project that showcases the array of layers and relationships that fills Medellin. It demonstrates that innovation is not a term that only applies to technology, but also to the social environment and to the dialogues that come to create a community. The INSITU Comuna Innova team of over 150 immersed themselves in many different processes to complete the project, from public consultation to advanced digital modelling, from construction work to research and documentation. Comuna Innova is not only a project to build 21 installations for the present Medellin, but more importantly it is a way to open up a dialogue with the City so the conversation about the importance of public space, social innovation and technology continues.

The first phase of Comuna Innova began with public workshops in each community where neighbourhood plans were developed by citizens identifying areas that required improvement as well as potential sites for new public space installations. Taking this outline, local artists and designers were invited to collaborate in the development of a feasible project that would stimulate the desired changes of the community. To do so, teams quickly moved between design development, prototyping and final installation with the use of digital fabrication techniques including 3D modelling software and CNC machines while also using a hybrid concrete mixture made from discarded construction waste. The diverse projects built vary in scale and type ranging from outdoor community kitchens, playgrounds and skate parks to modular seating installations, murals and night-time projections; each helping to create a sense of place within the rapidly changing environment of Medellin.

List of Comunas + Project Type:

COMUNA 1 – Popular
Skate Park: Repurposed Vacant Lot

COMUNA 2 – Santa Cruz
Memorial Wall: Representing Local Victims of Violence

COMUNA 3 – Manrique
Multi-Purpose Outdoor Public Stage: Salsa Dancing

COMUNA 4 – Aranjuez Moravia
Urban Agriculture: Modular Urban Planter Elements

COMUNA 5 – Castilla
Mobile Outdoor Hip Hop Scenography: Breakdancing Stage, DJ/Puppet Booth, Graffiti Artist Stands

COMUNA 6 – 12 de Octubre
Community Kitchen: Redevelopment of Underutilized Park

COMUNA 7 – Robledo
Urban Ecosystem Plug: Facade Birdhouse Element

COMUNA 8 – Villa Hermosa
Urban Agriculture: Community Orchard

COMUNA 9 – Buenos Aires
Furniture: Table + Chair Elements to Build Robotic Projects

COMUNA 10 – La Candelaria
Parasite Urban Elements: Green Wall Tile, Water Counter Covers + Modular Seating

COMUNA 11 – Laureles Estadio
Skate Park: Plaza Redevelopment with Modular Skate Elements

COMUNA 12 – La America
New Urban Park: Outdoor Gym, Playground + Community Kitchen

COMUNA 13 – San Javier
Interactive Digital Graffiti: Mobile Projection/Mapping Units

COMUNA 14 – El Poblado
Sidewalk Signposts: Local Designer + District Information

COMUNA 15 – Guayabal
Multipurpose Park: Topographical Green Landscaping for Gathering, Picnic, Parkour + Bmx Activities

COMUNA 16 – Belen
Mobile Interactive Elements: Immersive Digital Environment of Projection and Interaction in Public Library Courtyard

List of Corregimientos + Project Type:

Playground Landscape: Slide

Urban Agriculture: Chicken Coop

Urban Furniture: Elementary School Library

Suspended Canopy: Local Library Stairs

Green Wall: StoryTeller Scenography

Ana Carolina Acarras | Daniel Acevedo | Sinuhe Acosta | Manuela Aldana | Laura Arango Zapata | Daniel Asprilla | Sebastián Bedoya | Fred Bonilla | James Brazil | Daniel Bustamente | María Claudia Cano | Diana Carolina | Amalia Castro | Andrea Chaves | Bernardo Chaves | Fred De Smedt | David Del Valle | Juliana Diaz Castellanos | Juan David Diez Giraldo | Andrea Dominguez | Alejandro Echeverry | Jorge Florez | Luis Alejandro Garces | Alexandra Garcia | Mauricio Garcia | Yuliana Marcela Garcia | Juan Pablo Giraldo | Juan Giraldo | Carlos Julio Gironza | Alejandra Gomez | Lizeth Gomez | Juan David Gomez Eusse | Andrew James Harvey | Melisa Herrera | Edward Herrera | Andrés Hincapié Daniela Idarraga | Tatiana Isaza | Natalia Jaramillo | Juan Camilo Jaramillo | Sepulveda Daniel Jurado | Albeiro Londoño | Adrian Londoño (Mister Alian) | Daniel Eduardo Londoño | Ríos, Fabio Lopez | Rafael Machado | Rafael Machado | Simon Maya | Daniela Monsalve | Sebastian Monsalve Yepes | Mauricio Moranth | Henry Moreno | Isabel Cristina Muriel | Andres Obregón Lopez | Alejandro Ochoa | Juan David Orozco | Federico Ortiz | Danny Osorio | Juan Diego Pareja | Cindy Pulgarin | Juan Camilo Ramirez - Cliko | Camilo Restrepo | Juan Camilo Restrepo | Giohanny Orlando Restrepo | Johana Roman | Diana Rua | Juan Carlos Rua | Esteban Saldarriaga | Alejandro Saldarriaga | Julian Soto | Paula Tobón | Jorge Mario Valencia | Juan Esteban Vallejo | Melissa Vargas | Andres Vasquez | Marcela Velez | Nicholas Waissbluth | Luis Frey Zapata | Luisa Fernanda Zuluaga






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