Founded by the internationally distinguished architect Giancarlo Mazzanti, El Equipo Mazzanti operates under the belief that architecture is one of the keys to the construction of a more competitive and sustainable society. The team takes steps to contribute toward social transformation and well-being through contextual research and the involvement of local actors in the design process. The studio’s work is characterized by open, collective, and non-hierarchical working processes which bring together architects, urban planners, sociologists, artists, and other professionals.
Initially, the studio rose to international prominence as a part of the vanguard behind “Medellin Miracle,” a program and period of extensive urban renewal in Medellin, Colombia between 2002-2007. The program championed a unique approach: put the best buildings in the worst neighborhoods, then tie the city together with culture and infrastructure. The movement transformed the city away from its violent and segmented past into a model for contemporary urban development.
One of Mazzanti’s most famous buildings is the Medellin “Parque Biblioteca Espana.” Situated on a hilltop in what was once the most violent and stigmatized part of the city, the library/park offers a gathering space and community resource and is a symbol of pride for the neighborhood. Open 24 hours, the building includes a theater, library, and learning workshops. This ‘multiplication of use’ principle is found throughout Mazzanti’s portfolio; the more functions one can draw out of a building, the more diverse the building’s appeal. If all different segments of a community or city are using the building, it gives rise to social cohesion and cooperation.
Recent projects include the Torres Atrio Complex Convention Center, which is a point of reference in the city of Bogotá. Another project, the Control and Operations Center building, links a rural community with infrastructure. Located in the area of La Pintada, the building contains a covered plaza where events can take place, providing visibility to the small community.
Founder Mazzanti now gives seminars and classes at universities across Europe, sharing his vision of architecture as social action. We had an opportunity to speak with Giancarlo Mazzanti about his thoughts on transforming Medellin on our podcast, Social Design Insights. Listen to the episode below.