Matorral

Landscape and urban connection
Continuity of the landscape
Permeable connections
Cooking area
Private oasis by level
Inside - Outside connection
Social area - Private frontyard
Outside bedroom
Main entrance
Mimesis of the building in the lands
Overlapping slabs
Street facade

Primary Authors

  • Santiago Arango
  • Camilo Arango

Contributing Authors

  • Alejandro Molina (Constructor)
  • Luis Gonzalo Moscoso ( Forestal engineer)

Author

  • Specific clients who now live in the building

Photographer

  • Alejandro Arango
  • Luis Cano
  • Manuela Franco

Objectives

The MATORRAL building stands within some of the most important natural and artificial connectors of the city, such as calle 10 and La Presidenta stream. The building merges with its context, making the concrete slabs, which hold native botanical species and that provide food to its residents, the only visible thing from its main façade. The effect is a feeling of being in a house, totally surrounded by nature and immersed in an exuberant garden. Nature that seems to grow from the ground. Nature that exists as a contained garden in the density of the structure. From the outside, these bushes have actually become the façade, making MATORRAL an oasis in the heart of the city. The building strives to blend with the areas native materials, through the conscious use of steel, concrete, brick and wood, among other materials.

Context

The Project is located in Medellín, the second-largest city in Colombia and the capital of the department of Antioquia. It is located in the Aburrá Valley, a central region of the Andes Mountains in South America. Given its geographical and climate conditions, it is very common to find infinity of plant species at any time of the year, creating intrinsic relationships between nature and city’s inhabitants. Nevertheless, the accelerated growth and construction, has resulted in the loss of green spaces that provide not only the fauna but also the people around. Matorral is born from the idea of reactivating ecological connections, city landscape and relationships between humans and vegetation. In these times of deep climate crisis, green has become a flag for hope. MATORRAL, with its evocative name, is an architectural and construction proposal that actually takes these matters seriously. The building’s slabs become soil for more than 100 tropical species. Intelligent drip irrigation provides the minimum but vital amount of water for the flourishing of this small ecosystem.

Performance

The slabs are converted into a large container of more than one hundred tropical species. Drip irrigation provides rationally scheduled water into this small ecosystem. Residents on any level of the five-story building can enjoy-- and are recommended to taste-- the lush vegetation of rosemary, thyme, basil, tomatoes, aloe vera, and lemon trees growing directly outside their window. From the interior, this creates a feeling that their home is located within an oasis as opposed to a bustling city; and to any outsider, the structure seems to have devoured its concrete façade. From the moment of its construction until today, we have managed to verify that vegetation is a fundamental element in the daily life of humans. Not only because it manages its own microclimate but also because it provides residents with vegetables. In this way the building functions as a cycle in which what is grown is consumed by residents. The success the building has had, makes us understand that it is very important to integrate vegetation in every single project we are working on.

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Landscape and urban connection