Rogelio Salmona was a Colombian
architect born on April 28, 1929 in
Paris, France. He die on October 3, 2007 in Bogota, Colombia.
Inspirited by Islamic brick work of Spain and North Africa, is
considerate the greatest of 20th century Colombian architect. Because
he was son of a Spanish father and a French mother who were Jewish,
they had to came to Bogota, Colombia in 1934 before the Second World
He grew up in the Faux Tudor, in Bogota. His family
haven't very big.
He had no brothers, so he only lived with his parents. Their
relationship was like the one a family must have. In 1948, he retuned
to France because in Colombia El Bogotazo was being develop. In 1953,
Rogelio Salmona traveled through the southern of France, Spain and the
north of Africa learning history. During his trip, he gets interest in
the Islamic brick work of Spain and North Africa. This interest he had
will became further in his inspiration. He return to Colombia in 1958.
Here he finish his studies and begin working having in mind this
Islamic descent, which he adapted to the Colombian society and
environment. Adding, he also inspirited in nature and the geometrical
shapes we can find in it.
In Bogota he started studying at the French Lyceum Louis Pasteur
school, were he graduates and decided to study architecture. Having
this in mind he entered to the architecture program of the Nacional
University of Colombia. Because of the violence that were taking place
in Bogota while he was studying, his father decided to send him back to
Paris, where he had the opportunity to study and work with Le Corbusier
on Chandigarh and other projects, that made him shine as a new
architect. After almost 10 years of working with Le Corbusier, Salmona
return to Colombia and continuos his great crier in here in the
University of Los Andes. His work is often different and
representative, because of the the use of red brick and some natural
shapes (like spirals), radial geometry and a lot of curves in his
designs. Further more, his basic idea was to use new materials and
designs but, without forgetting about the old ones.
A Colombian hero:
Rogelio Salmona was one of the first architects to transform
american culture, materials and techniques into a contemporary
framework. He did a lot of things to transform the old Colombia into
the one that we know nowadays. His first impacting work was the
apartments of the El Polo, designed in company of Guillermo Berm.
During the first part of his profession he made a lot of buildings
specially of public uses, but the first of his work to be
internationally recognized were the El Parque apartments. This building
nowadays is recognized as one of the most important contributions to
Bogota city. In 1986, he won the first National Price of Architecture
for the House of Guests in Cartagena, Colombia and also it was the most
important Latin American protect that was build during the eighties.
The Quimbaya Museum in Armenia, won the second National Price of
Architecture for Rogelio Salmona, in 1988. And he won his third
National Price of Architecture with the FAITHS in Cali (1990).
In 2003 he was the first Latin American to won the Alvar Aalto Medal
for the public Library name Virgilio Barco. His designs are
characterized because of the different option he use for handling of
space, lighting, scare, outsides spaces and the present of water in
different ways, just like pool, waterfalls or ponds. Also you can see
in all of his buildings different types of inclinations and terraces.
Further more he used to defended the public space and the cultural and
environmental values of the surrounding spaces all over the city.
October the third of 2007, Rogelio Salmona die after a hard
battle with cancer. Even he is not physically any more his memories and
live will be never die in all the Colombians harts. "Good architecture
transform without modifying", Rogelio Salmona. Ricardo Castro is a
professional architect, who thinks, “Salmona
was like an illustrious botanist. He was immersed in history, making
his buildings, like great works of literature or music, evocative of
other things". Letting in one site his talent to design, most people
who had the opportunity of meeting him said that he was a very special
person who never grew up, because his attitude is like the one of a
little kid thought wars almost everything he did. An other thing that
is very important of the work of Rogelio Salmona is that almost all of
his work is for public use, because he thought that we need to have the
space to share with other and have the opportunity to learn in their
spaces, that's why most of his buildings are schools, libraries or
museums (and does are the ones that get prices). He was a person who
thinks and care about the others and the society.
“Good architecture becomes ruins, bad architecture disappears.” Rogelio