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University City of Bogotá

The Bogotá University City , well-known colloquially like Ciudad Blanca (White City), is the set of buildings that conform the main Campus of National University of Colombia , located in the locality of Teusaquillo of the city of Bogotá in Colombia.

The origin of the university city Rafael Uribe Uribe goes back to the ideas of the Colombian politician, who saw the National University of Colombia like a national being, modern, present and evolutionary, experimental that would have to locate all sciences and the arts in a same space and with a unified infrastructure.

One affirms, and with reason, that the University City in Bogotá of National University of Colombia is the architectonic expression of the modernization of the State from years 30 to the present time, this great work initiated by Alfonso Lopez Pumarejo at that time president of the Republic in his first period (1934-1938).

By virtue of 1935 law 68 it was constituted the National University of Colombia, like independent organization and expression of the opening of the education to ampler sectors of the population. The new concept of superior education, the educational and administrative structure of the University City of Bogotá, its implantation in the estate and its architecture had to reflect, in their respective scopes, the modernization spirit on which the country was pawned. The state granted lands of the future university city that would be located to the West of the city with the objective to stimulate the urban development of that zone (development which they obtained in such magnitude that nowadays (2006) is considered that the National University in its campus of Bogotá this in a central site readily accessible).

For the structuring of the university, that until then distributed teaching in diverse seats scattered by all Bogotá, assigned to different governmental organizations, arrived from Germany, invited by the national government, Fritz Karsen, expert in university subjects, and the architect Leopold Rother. In conscientious study of races and programs led by Karsen he allowed to define integral an academic structure, synthesized in a general scheme in ellipse form of which he radiated each one of the five great academic divisions and his respective dependencies. The scheme was translated almost literally by Rother in the propose space distribution for the estate selected in its origins of “puristic cubism” and with some characteristics of the seat of the famous school of Bauhaus, in Dessau (Germany), with a prismatic volumetry, white and austere.

The space distribution of the set offers for the first time in the country the concept of “campus”, where in a generous suburban land they are located, isolated of the others, each one of the necessary constructions for the operation of the university, with ample green zones and of relaxation, tie to the set by peatonales footpaths and two perimetrales routes conforming all unified to projection to the future. For the design of the diverse constructions it was also told on the participation not only of Karsen and Rother but of the tie architects the Office of National Buildings of the Public Work Ministry, organization in charge of the design and construction of the national administrative buildings. The architecture looked for to reflect the new architectonic language promulgated by the movements of vanguard of then, internationally made official in the exhibition Modern Architecture organized in the Museum of Modern Art of New York in 1932. Volumes concise and white, simple and pure, geometrically devoid of any superfluous addition, where they only appear the bays of doors and windows of generous proportions.

The composition of plants and facades with tendency to the asymmetry, the handling of new materials and new constructive techniques are, in synthesis, the elements that served as foundation the design. The constructions of the University City followed, in general terms, although the symmetrical composition in the space distribution of some buildings and the use of traditional constructive systems in others is well-known. The use generalized of finished in stucco and the white painting in the constructions of the initial stage was worth to the set the name to him of “White City” .

The professional work of the architect is very remarkable Leopold Rother, that besides to participate in the educational structuring and the implantation of the general project, was author of several buildings; between the designed ones at the beginning of the “campus” they are counted: the stage Alfonso Lopez (1937), the administrative offices (1937), porterías for the entrances of streets 26 and 45 (1937), the houses for professors (1939), the research laboratory of materials (1940), the engineering building, in I associate with Bruno Violi (1940), and the press (1945). The Rother teacher continued in the country and was orientation of several generations of architects formed in just created Faculty of Architecture of the University. Of the initial buildings the set of veterinary medicine and the faculty of architecture, both designed by of Erik Lange and Ernesto Blumenthal (1938), the faculty of right of Alberto Wills Ferro (1940) and the student residences of Julio Bonilla are due to emphasize Silver (1939 and 1940); All these declared National Monuments.

The University City, by its conception of vanguard, its dimensions, the quality of its multiple constructions, their contribution to the acceptance of modern the architectonic language and its condition of paradigm that for that reason it acquired is, between ten more important works of the century, and by, much most significant of all.

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