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Edificio de Aulas Bloque D, Universidad Industrial de Santander

Taller de Arquitectura de Bogotá

El Socorro, Santander, Colombia

February 2023


Daniel Bonilla (Design Architect), Marcela Albornoz (General Manager)


Julio Martinez (Director UIS Socorro), Nicolas Parra (Structural desing), Guztavo Garzon (Wood structure adviser), Claro Oscuro (Lighting desing), ADT (Acoustic consultant


Industrial University of Santander - UIS


Alejandro Arango Escobar


1_Creating an open Campus, not so common in Colombia due to security issues. In this way the academical complex was developed as an open controlled park towards the neighbors, with landscape design that promotes paths surrounding and crossing the buildings in a magnificent green landscape setting with native trees and planting.
2_The design unites tradition by being inspired in Caney´s architecture (Caneys are a beautiful traditional and very simple pitched roof single storey building, used to dry off leaves of tobacco since XVII century). The challenge was how to use this reference for making a multi floor “large” scale project.
3_Another basic objective was to research local traditional materials, to apply on nowadays architecture, by using raw earth walls but in this case with about 14 mts height, combined with BTC walls, and using extensively paved areas with local “Barichara” stone.
4_Architecture as the third professor, a public building as an example of government infrastructure well designed and built. An architecture that promotes communication, tolerance, encounter, sensitization with nature, pleasure, etc.
5_Sensible and sensitive architecture as the best way to face challenging sustainable issues.


D Block is located in El Socorro - Santander, a region with strong Andes topography with deep canyons crossed by fast water rivers. This steep landscape is densely covered by nature, native vegetation and a wide range of animals. This biodiversity typical of Colombia, with mild temperatures, is the perfect setting for a semi-enclose architecture open to the landscape and dramatic views of the mountains. A stable weather all the year through very close to human comfort, enables classrooms spaces to be open on facades when appropriate. So architecture becomes a matter of covering from the rain and the sun, feeling the diversity of nature, and being able to listen to the sound of wind and local fauna.
In addition, Santander due to the kind geologic soil, has a strong tradition in using spread reddish sandstone from open fields and building with raw earth walls.
At the end the question was, how to remembrance existing typologies and how to re-use traditional materials with new techniques and scales fulfilling building construction codes and regulations.

D Classroom Block is the first building of a Master Plan designed also by TAB>I, to develop a new Campus for Universidad Industrial de Santander - UIS, in El Socorro town. In this sense, this first building is the paradigm and the seed for the architecture that will happen along this university cittadella in the future.


The development of the Campus Bicentenario is very incipient with only two buildings built until now, (A previous existing library facility and D classroom block), however it has been appropriated by the neighbors as a new “public park”; people enjoy walking in its paths, resting on the benches or steps, or simply lying down under a tree. There are almost none parks in the area, this is why it is very significant for citizens to be able to enter and use this green campus.

D block has been recognized as a good example of sensitive and sensible architecture, and it has been largely advertised by the University as an example where universities should go in terms of sustainable infrastructure. Many last year's seminars about sustainability or sensitive architecture have placed this building/campus as a good example of using resources, raising tradition and enhancing local identity within a global world.

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