With only a tool Clairefontaine notebook and crayons, the Colombian architect Simon Velez declines complex structures guadua bamboo ( Guadua angustifolia ), endemic to the Colombian valleys.
The work of Simon Vélez, son of an architect, is largely determined by the conditions of the tropical climate - immutable equivalence of day and night, lack of seasons, phenomenal luxuriance and diversity of vegetation, including high altitudes to climate fresh. For him, as for the Colombians, botany is a sort of second nature, which he manages masterfully in his work.
In close collaboration with the engineer-builder Marcello Villegas, he devised a series of assemblies of bamboo rods and developed a very specific and precise know-how. Its implementation is demanding, but of a technical level that is simple enough for it to be able to apply it in conditions of fairgrounds having only a fairly simple tooling. The optimization of this technology is the basis of the organization of its work sites, where it operates with the help of a large skilled workforce.
With this monograph illustrated by photographs by Deidi von Schaewen, Pierre Frey offers us one of the few books on this creator. Throughout this portrait, texts and images show us a panorama of the buildings and methods of construction of the Colombian architect belonging to a vernacular architecture that the author regards as a "symptom of the state of the world and Of the societies that populate it ".
The pragmatism developed by Simon Vélez for his bamboo guadua constructions is typical of his whole approach. It acts in a similar way, whether it works concrete, other species of wood or steel. He also vigorously defends being a bambousero and means well to distinguish materials by assigning them the most specifically according to their performance features. He has succeeded in persuading his wealthiest clients to build luxurious residences, built in the material used by ordinary peasants! It has also succeeded in convincing many major public administrations, municipalities or companies concerned about their environmental footprint to adopt bamboo guadua and assume the image that is linked to it.
Pierre Frey(1949) studied art history, geography and German at the universities of Geneva and Lausanne. He holds a doctorate in technological sciences from the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne(EPFL), where he is professor in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering(ENAC). At the EPFL he has created the Archives of Modern Construction(ACM), which are known as an authoritative body in the field. He has researched and published extensively, As an editor, he has conceived and managed volumes on Viollet-le-Duc et le massif du Mont-Blanc and Viollet-le-Duc et la Montagne, both published for exhibitions, and the first monograph on architectural competitions in Switzerland, Concours d'architecture et d'urbanisme en Suisse romande, histoire et actualité. He has written books on several Swiss architects and his Learning from Vernacular(Actes Sud, 2010) won the Grand Prix du Livre d'Architecture on 2011.
Simón Vélez(1949) was born in Manizales, Colombia. He developed his architectural skills and started using assemblages of Guadua bamboo when working in close collaboration with the engineer and builder Marcelo Villegas. His best-known work is the colossal 2,000 square-metre bamboo pavillion he built for Expo 2000 in Hannover.
He also worked on the conception of the Crosswaters Ecolodge, the first green tourism destination in the firests of Southeast China, and a project which won the Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2006.
In 2008 Vélez created the Nomadic Museum, an ephemeral structure built in Mexico City to house the exhibition Ashes & Snow by the Canadian Gregory Colbert. Uniting two galleries and three monumental halls for a total space of 5,130 square metres, this wasthe biggest and most spectacular bamboo structure ever built.
In 2009, Simón Vélez's international status was confirmed when he received the Grand Prize from the Prince Claus Foundation in the Netherlands. The following year he worked with Sanjay Prakash on the Indian Pavillion at Expo 2010 in Shanhai. In France, his work can be viewed at Boisbuchet, where he has led several workshops.
15 Simón Vélez architect. Mastering bamboo
90 Guadua angustifolia Kumnth
100 Guadua bamboo: cultivation, harvest and use
116 Toits Roofs
128 Serres Greenhouses
138 the architect's house as self-portrait
146 Golf-club, Girardot region
154 Finca Canalete, Cartagena de Indias region
164 Two villas in the Girardot region
180 Jenny-Garzón bridge
198 Pereira cathedral, temporary sanctuary
208 Corporación autónoma regional de Risaralda
216 Café de Colombia Pavillion, Manizales, and ZERI Foundation Pavillion, Hanover