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Docomomo [Edição 04]

Architectural firms in Bogota (1920-1970):development of organizational models for building production

Ingrid Quintana Guerrero, Margarita Roa Rojas, Maarten Goossens


Beginning in the 1920s, the way architecture was produced in Bogotáunderwent a series of changes that where the consequence of the growing “independence”of architectural education from engineering schools, a more professional approach in the construction industry, and the establishment of local associations of architects. Aside from familiarity with US architectural firms and their methods gained by young alumni of North-American architecture schools and by local partners working on projects commissioned to those firms, these changes stimulated the business-like approach that would characterize the firms founded between 1920 and 1970 in the Colombian capital. As historiography has focused on biographical and monographic narratives around architects and their works rather than methods and organization, this paper develops a survey of local architecture firms. These firms are understood to be companies headed by at least two partners that were capable of undertaking diverse commissions and that develop organizational structures that allow them to work on most, if not all phases of development of an architectural project. The paper examines primary sources (interviews, specialized publications, publicity and archives of the firms) and looks into the possible origins of the architecture firm in Colombia, parallel processes elsewhere in the continent, local adaptations, co-participation with public institutions and collaborative work in the context of public and private architectural competitions, as well as high-profile commissions.

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