Heatherwick Studio Designs a School in Bogota With a Basket-Woven Facade

The seven-story building will be located on Calle 72, one of the city’s main arteries, with the front facade made up of colorful columns and open terraces.

By: THURSD. | 08-05-2024 | 3 min read
Bogota school with greenery and color

Heatherwick Studio has been selected to design a design school and maker space for Universidad EAN in Colombia, a leading university focusing on sustainability. The new building will be located on the university's existing campus in central Bogota's Calle 72, one of the city's major streets, and will show hanging greenery along with bountiful colors all over the building. The perfect duo for sure: colors and plants.

A Terrace Takeover for a School in Bogota in 2025

The seven-story structure's distinct facade of colorful columns and open terraces with the greenest plants will immediately draw attention. This playful architecture is inspired by Werregue basketry, a traditional weaving technique unique to Colombia's Wounaan indigenous community. This will be Heatherwick Studio's first project in South America, with construction set to begin in 2025.

Heatherwick Studio's new building is intended to serve as a central hub for the campus, complementing the existing historical structures and providing much-needed public space in Bogota. The architects are also working on innovative facade materials to withstand Bogota's high altitude and intense sunlight, ensuring the building's longevity. Not only that, but the addition of plants and greenery gives the building a special touch because plants make everything better!


Heatherwick Studios renders for a school in Bogota


Eliot Postma, group leader and partner at Heatherwick Studios says:

"Creativity is essential to Bogota.  It's everywhere you look. We want students to be proud of their campus even before they enter the building. The public square in front is a welcoming communal oasis inside the urban environment."

According to the Studio, Colombia has the world's second-highest level of biodiversity, and Bogota is a recognized leader in sustainable development. Universidad EAN intends to celebrate this by incorporating the city's surrounding cloud forest into the design of the new building. The architects' biophilic design will include local plant species on the open terraces, bringing nature into the city and meeting the city's commitments as a signatory to the C40 Urban Nature Declaration.


The view of the school at night
What the night view will look like once completed in 2025


A Design Paying Homage to Local Traditions

Each of the building's stories has glazed facades with wooden frames. The design pays homage to the local craft traditions including Werregue basketry, a form of weaving unique to Colombia's Wounaan indigenous community. Werregue basketry is distinguished by similar oval silhouettes and is typically made of natural palm fiber and colored with vegetable dyes.


Design paying homage to Colombian traditions

They also stated that they're working on developing innovative facade materials to accommodate the high levels of sunlight at Bogota's altitude of 2,640 meters (8,660 feet)above sea level.

More About the Geniuses Behind These Architectural Marvels

Based out of their combined workshop and design studios in London, Shanghai, Singapore, and California, they create buildings, spaces, objects, and infrastructure. Their team of architects, designers, makers, engineers, and landscape architects share a motivation to design soulful and impactful places, which celebrate the complexities of the real world. The approach driving everything is to lead from human experience rather than any fixed design belief. They start each project from scratch, putting aside any preconceived ideas. By asking questions and challenging assumptions, they uncover the real issues and potential solutions at the heart of each project.


Thomas Heatherwick architect
Thomas Heatherwick, Owner and Founder of Heatherwick Studio


To know more about this project head to Heatherwick Studio's website.


Photos by Estudio Nod.



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