© Julio César Herrera
Under threat – Casa Roja
By Rogelio Salmona, El Poblado, Medellín, Colombia, 1966

Docomomo International became aware that the Casa Roja, in El Poblado, Medellín, Colombia, designed by Rogelio Salmona, in 1966, is at risk of being demolished according to La Dirección de Patrimonio y Memoria, which received an issuance of the Construction License C2 for the development of a real estate project.

“In this regard, and given the apparent imminent demolition of the house,  La Dirección de Patrimonio y Memoria makes a urgent call to the municipal administration, in order to protect this important legacy
that the architect Salmona leaves to the city of Medellín – the only buildings designed by the architect that is preserved in the city.

It is worth emphasizing the importance of preserving this type of buildings that constitute a clear and magnificent example of modern and contemporary Latin American architecture in Colombia from the influences of the Modern Movement. Buildings that were developed under the perspective of the deep understanding of architecture from its eminently spatial experience and of the incorporation of open spaces as articulators of architecture, in an attempt to democratize architecture by its creator.

The architectural and landscape richness of the volumes and the interior and exterior spaces, their relationship with the place, the architectural and constructive quality of the house and its cultural significance, make it an outstanding example of Colombian single-family residential architecture.

It is appropriate to remember that the work of the architect Salmona, his poetics of space and his work as a teacher, make him, without a doubt, one of the most important and influential architects in the history of Colombian architecture. Losing this building, which also corresponds to the first solo project in which he consciously uses the patio as an articulating element of the plant around a void, a pattern that will be definitive in his creations from now on and that it had already been used intuitively from his previous jobs, it would entail a regrettable loss for the built memory of the city of Medellín and of Colombian architecture in general.

It is clear that despite being part of the cultural heritage of the municipality, La Casa was apparently not included in the inventories of cultural heritage contained in the Territorial Ordering Plan, nor does it have a specific declaration as a property of cultural interest.

That is why it is raised the request to appraise within the architectural and urban proposal the maintenance of what is still is kept from the house, integrating it into the design of the project that is intended to be developed in these properties, while it is considered that this construction will undoubtedly contribute added values ​​to the project, making in addition to this project an example of articulation between heritage and new urban developments, evidencing its commitment to society and the community.”

By this, Docomomo International joins the appeal to save this fundamental testimony of Colombian architecture and history.

Please see the full letter from the Director of Heritage and Memory of Colombia: Casa Roja [Spanish]

More information about danger of destruction of this important heritage in a report of a Colombian newspaper: here [Spanish]