The Carnival of Barranquilla, Colombia is a culmination of culture and tradition celebrated annually before Lent. Its origins are a collage of African, European, and indigenous traditions which can be seen through the hand-made objects of the parades: masks, floats, costumes, and instruments. Planning for the Carnival is a large community undertaking; its year-round preparation holds as much importance as the event itself. The places in which the Carnival is prepared are rather informal. Costumes are made in backyards, dances are practiced in streets, and floats are constructed in temporary warehouses. The proposed project, Mundo Momo, introduces the city’s first permanent infrastructure dedicated to the Carnival. The building will provide Barranquilla with a new level of innovation to expand the Carnival while preserving its rich history.
Made of concrete and steel, the building responds to its tropical climate by utilizing vernacular building principles. The design is a mostly open-air structure with limited program sealed for air conditioning. Flexible doors, curtains, and louvers can be moved by users to accommodate weather and activity. The long metal roof is punctured with skylights and wind chimneys to provide light and ventilation. Program includes classrooms, costume workshops, float fabrication space, dance studios, and stadium seating.
Mundo Momo is equally an urban project as it is an architectural one. Its design was preceded by an intense study of site and region. The building is located on La Loma, an island along the Magdalena River in jeopardy of development at a scale too large for the city. Our team presented a masterplan which more thoughtfully integrates La Loma into Barranquilla’s climate and urban fabric and uses Mundo Momo as an example for future urban projects. This entire body of work engages the spirit of Barranquilla through innovative drawings and physical models.