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New neighbor on 72nd Street

BY GLORIA VALLEJO

EL TIEMPO Newspaper/ SATURDAY, JULY 25, 1992

The oldest construction company in Bogotá, Cuéllar Serrano Gómez – which built the Tequendama Hotel and the Jockey Club headquarters, among others – is about to finish a new architectural work on Chile Avenue. The new ingredient: an impeccable system of making buildings without mortifying the citizens and without invading public space.

On the corner of 72nd Street and Carrera 7ª, an important and promising urban axis in Bogotá, the largest office complex in the city is under construction.

This is the Carrera Séptima building, with 74 thousand square meters of construction, a record area for projects of this type.

Until the appearance of this conglomerate, the largest office tower in the capital of the Republic was that of Proexpor, owned by Banco Cafetero. It is located in the international center of Bogota (Calle 26 between Avenida Caracas and Carrera 13) and has 56 thousand square meters of construction.

The firm Cuéllar Serrano Gómez was commissioned by the real estate company Selecta S.A. to design and build the new architectural complex, which is setting an example to other builders in the city of how a work can be done, no matter how gigantic it may be, without causing discomfort to the citizens.

This work is an example of good architecture that is being done in the country.

The Carrera Séptima Building consists of two towers (13 and 19 stories), connected by a gallery 50 meters long, eight meters wide and six meters high, with a coffered vault (ornamented with moldings). This rich space evokes the spacious volumes of the architecture of yesteryear.

It connects Carrera Séptima with 72nd Street. These two accesses are resolved with public plazas, bleachers, fountains and vegetation, which give the site its own stamp and a friendlier management of the spaces for pedestrians.

A wax palm, the only one remaining from the traditional meeting center of the 1960s, Tout va Bien, is its symbol. Such was the zeal of the owners of the site that during construction it was more cared for than the structure itself.

Part of the furniture of the main plaza (Carrera 7ª. Corner) is the work of the young sculptor Nadín Ospina called “El retorno de los Príncipes” (The return of the Princes). There are eight life-size bronze deer. Five of them are grazing outside the building, while three more are in the gallery.

The deer were chosen for having been a common symbol of pre-Columbian cultures.

This work by Nadín participates in the Joan Miró International Plastic Arts Prize competition in Barcelona (Spain).

Classic vs. modernism

The buildings are planned with the concept of classical architecture. They return to the use of windows with stone veneers, which enriches the facade and achieves a beautiful contrast with the exposed brick.

Cuéllar Serrano Sómez was careful to ensure that while maintaining the aesthetics of the entire complex, it is functional for those who will occupy it. Otherwise,” said one of its directors, “the projects become an element of benefit for the architect as a great work, but the user has to suffer all the shortcomings of functionality.

The shortage of parking spaces, one of Bogotá’s main problems, was solved with 1,025 parking spaces distributed in four and a half basements.

Construction of the complex began twenty months ago. The first stage has already been completed and the second stage will be completed in April of next year.

The colonization of the finished tower was done by Almagrario S.A., one of the thirty companies that bought the complex and moved in early.

It is a structure that, in spite of its height and proximity to the hills, does not totally obstruct the view of them. There is a space between the two towers that allows the presence of the mountains.

During the tour of the finished building, this newspaper reached the ninth floor. The atmosphere in the halls was one of serenity and elegance.

In fact, it was achieved with a refined design of the floors, with walls half-veneered in marble and with a handrail of the same material and the rest of the wall painted. Predominating pastel shades of gray, pink and green.

In this access, as in the rest of the set, there are no large lamps. Small spotlights, of halogen lights, are embedded in the ceiling.

The fenestration solves the problem of security and noise. It has double panes of glass, with a plastic film in the middle. If they break, the particles remain adhered to the film. The three layers, on the other hand, definitively isolate the noise from Séptima and 72nd Street.

Thus, with these towers, the private company considers that it has created an urban landmark on 72nd Street and consolidated this sector as the new financial and business center of the city.

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