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7 Patios

Lucas Oberlaender Arquitectos

Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia

December 2022


Lucas Oberlaender (Designer)


Ferney Ruiz (Architect)




Simon Bosch


Our purpose is to repopulate the outskirts of the city center with high-quality architecture, enhancing areas with unique physical and heritage characteristics. We leverage the potential of tenements to create a dense and diverse street with projects of reduced frontage, mixed uses, and walkable distances. The deep interiors of the properties offer spatial richness.
The 7 Patios project considers the original urban street section, narrow with single-story constructions on each side. To preserve this section, we build a façade that matches the heights of the original structures, while a 4-story tower, allowed by regulations, is set back from the street.
Furthermore, 7 Patios aims to bring affordable housing to a neglected central neighborhood. The units are arranged like a chessboard around garden patios, oriented towards the morning and afternoon sun. This arrangement allows, despite the compact size of the homes, all of them to have views and orientation towards three different courtyards. Inspired by the concept of common and shared spaces in tenements, the project zigzags, revealing the succession of courtyards in the spatial experience. Each patio has a unique character, creating vibrant and spatially diverse communal areas. This approach merges contemporary needs with preservation, revitalizing the neighborhood and promoting inclusive housing.


7 Patios is a housing project in Las Cruces neighborhood in Bogotá, south of La Candelaria, the historic center of the city. Las Cruces has been a marginalized neighborhood since its foundation in the 18th century, despite being located just a few blocks from Bolívar Square (the city's founding square) and the presidential palace. Since its foundation, it has been inhabited by low-income individuals, indigenous communities displaced from their original rural territories, and laborers working in brick factories and quarries.
Although it is now a central neighborhood and protected as heritage, the physical and living conditions remain very precarious. The urban fabric of the neighborhood reflects its working-class and low-income origins. The proportions of the lots are narrow and deep (9m x 50m in 7 Patios). This is because, in its origin, they were tenements—rental rooms with shared services. The spatial structure used to be defined by sequences of courtyards surrounded by sleeping quarters, with common services (bathrooms, kitchens, laundry areas) located at the back of the property.


One of the most exciting aspects of the time period in which 7 Patios has been inhabited is the variety of people who live in this place. This requires an explanation: Bogotá is a city with a marked social inequality that is reflected in its spatial structure. As a result of a well-intentioned policy of subsidizing taxes and public services for people with few resources, Bogotá ended up being spatially segregated into sectors corresponding to socioeconomic strata (There are six strata, with 1 being the most subsidized and 6 being the one that contributes the most to these subsidies). There are neighborhoods and sectors that, due to their stratification, are destined only for people with limited economic resources, and likewise sectors where only people with high resources can pay for public services and property taxes.
For these reasons, finding a place in Bogotá where people of different origins, cultures, and socioeconomic resources coexist is very rare. 7 Patios achieved this mix because its purpose was to build a place that values an urban and architectural past to create a space of good quality. This had to be achieved without its architecture being penalized just because it was destined for affordable housing. 7 Patios contributed to the fact that today new projects have been appearing in the sector, also aiming at revitalizing the neighborhood. Internally, vegetation has grown, the unique character of each patio is increasingly evident, and the project has been naturally appropriated by people who are socially, culturally, and economically diverse.

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