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El Taller de Sebastián

Bogotá D.C, Cundinamarca, Colombia

July 2023


Sebastián Serna Hosie (Founder)


Nicolás González Guzmán (Design), Viviana Catalina Ríos Pérez (Construction resident), Carlos López López (Design), Cecilia Constain Ramos (Construction resident), Santiago Beaumé Pantoja (Design




Santiago Beaumé Pantoja - Paola Pabón (Bé estudio)


The project aims to reconcile and conceive housing adapted to the needs posed by an informal city. Thus, it is built upon the mixed use of activities and the condensation of trades and necessities required by the location. The project achieves a cross-cutting impact through its status as a consolidated center. Housing the understands domestic self-sufficiency as rooted and intertwined with the city, conceiving economic self-sufficiency through the relationship between productive units, commercial spaces, and the city itself.
Seeking alternative living arrangements, the project explores the dialogue between individual trades and housing. Productive units are arranged on the ground floor as part of the residences, establishing a dialogue between the first and second levels. Cells where each inhabitant’s condition shapes a collective space follow the concept of various layers of privacy proposed by the informal city.
We collaborated with the community of artisans established in the neighborhood, sharing knowledge to develop the construction of a pink resin staircase that helped overcome the height of an artificial topography, allowing continuous connection of the project with the city. The building is thus conceived as a large inhabited staircase that allows different ways of navigating and engaging with its workshop, domestic, and urban activities.


Suramérica is an experimental, low-cost housing project located in Suramerica neighborhood of the 20 de Julio sector in Bogotá. The informal neighborhood originated due to its proximity to the city’s first brick kilns and brick factories, and thanks to the Salesians, it became the site of the city’s first school of arts and crafts.

A housing model is proposed marked by dynamics that emerge from consolidated centers and embodies an identity shaped by the area’s memory and traditions. The city is understood as fundamental extensions and complements of the housing.

The project interacts with the city through a typology built around the activity generated by each individual. It envisions a “soft” edge where its contact with the city is shaped by different layers of activity. Thus, a ground floor where the public and the collective engage through street-facing shops, entrances along the entire perimeter, and productive units within allow for a mix of uses where communal activity thrives.

Identity reconciliation also stems from understanding the trades occurring there, materializing them into everyday objects imbued with a history marked by their identity. It is worth noting that within its context, the project seeks to complement existing structures, defining, and rebuilding a neighborhood rather than starting anew.


South America provides housing accessibility to 27 family nuclei of local artisans, consisting of families ranging from 2 to 5 members. Understanding the needs of the area leads to benefiting families and merchants through 5 productive units in a communal space and 6 commercial spaces facing the street. Similarly, the project’s impact is also indirect through the provision of 33 storage units the artisans and merchants of the neighborhood.

Given Bogotá’s climatic conditions, the housing units are designed around three courtyards of different character, allowing direct sunlight at some point during the day and fostering various spatial relationships between the different blocks.

It has been crucial for us to recognize that acting from formality by providing flexible productive spaces creates a rupture in traditional market and housing thinking. This, of course, presented a challenge, not only in how the project was marketed, but also in providing social support for tenants to embrace the project and engage in developing their ventures in the productive spaces. This challenge will continue for a long-time hand in hand with Compensar and, we hope it will bear fruit in the not-too-distant future.

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