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"House for Happiness"

Chapinero, Bogotá, Colombia




Cultural, Sports, Public space

Honorable Mention .


Architecture, urban planning, sustainability, public space, sports center, exhibition hall, hybrid building , squares.


Imagen realizada por MANU-FACTURAS 3D

The contest for La casa de La Felicidad in Bogotá proposed a very varied program : courts, swimming pool, auditorium, exhibition halls ... and very little budget .


We understood that this could work in our favor and not be a problem.

We propose a building made up of a series of stacked , closed and open squares , and built with cheap materials.
This approach offered us a raw and naked aesthetic that seemed very interesting to us.

The program that in the bases was limited by a certain surface, we thought that it could also present an altered or excited state . Like Goku when he becomes super warrior. Therefore it should be flexible enough to fit the stipulated program but also their respective excited states. In this way, the exhibition area, for example, which was limited to 200m2 at the bases, could, at specific times, become a great design walk and spread throughout the building.

Each program was organized in one of the different layers that were piled up. Pool and changing rooms on the lower ground floor, access on the ground floor, the garden and the hill on the first floor, classrooms and laboratories on the second, the exhibition area on the third, auditorium on the fourth, changing rooms on the fifth and a court on the sixth floor crowning the building.


A sum of places, a sum of happinneses .


Imagen del concurso. By Poliedro.

On the urban approach.
In order to increase its collection of happiness, the building also had to be thought of as a collection of different urban spaces , and from the combination of these spaces surprising situations appeared that caused happiness that had never been thought to provoke.

The tower materialized as a square assembled from other squares , with gardens, cobblestones and urban furniture, but also with domestic and interior settings. A new public space that allowed lowering costs but increasing usability . As if by mixing different cities in the same place, new types of spaces appeared that had not been discovered before. The building is related in its own way to the street, continuously through an organic topography that leads to a tall garden.


Imagen realizada por MANU-FACTURAS 3D

About the building.
"They say that Susan Sontag collected all the birthday gifts that had been made to her throughout her life, still wrapped in her own wrapping paper and that she never opened any. For her," collecting expresses a desire that flies freely and is always coupled to something different : it is a succession of wishes. The true collector is not tied to what he collects, but to the fact of collecting. "

There are people who collect stickers, other paintings or dresses. This Chapinero building in Bogotá is a collector of happinesses . And there is not only one happiness, but there is a kind of different happiness that feels very differently. This building collects happiness through small daily transformations that provoke happy reactions in the inhabitants who live or visit it. The building is therefore not trying to make people happier, but to experience new happiness, happiness that no one has ever felt before. The building improves the more new congratulations it is capable of causing.

· A public happiness felt collectively when neighbors understood that their neighborhood was gaining public space the day it opened.
· A mutant happiness that appropriated a mother who understood that the structure of the building is changing as it adapts to the best conditions of the program that each of the plants houses.
· A playful and resilient happiness when the children realized that the building was designed to evolve according to how they used it themselves.
· An old happiness felt by the workers of the building when discovering how over the years the building became more expert and its old age gave it an even more attractive air.
· An unprecedented happiness when strollers discover a new type of plaza in Bogotá. A square that where you are outdoors but not outdoors, where you live in open but not unprotected spaces and where it was very easy to meet new people.

Every day, thanks to its "inhabitants", the Chapinero building becomes something different that allows us to offer new happiness.

Imagen realizada por MANU-FACTURAS 3D


Concurso Colombia_hall_def.jpg

Imagen realizada por MANU-FACTURAS 3D


Concurso Colombia_colina_def.jpg

Imagen realizada por MANU-FACTURAS 3D


Imagen realizada por MANU-FACTURAS 3D


Concurso Colombia_auditorio_def.jpg

Imagen realizada por MANU-FACTURAS 3D


Imagen realizada por MANU-FACTURAS 3D


How to breathe deeply, after running.
It was not normal. It didn't seem like it either. It made people feel in ways they had never felt before. Suddenly you could be in a square that was an outdoor garden, without worrying if it was raining. Being in an open place, in a public space where you did not feel out in the open or of course unprotected. Without realizing it, the street had risen to a considerable height and suddenly the garden had views.

Like the merchants in your neighborhood calling you by name.
The space soon managed to make you feel a kind of happiness that is only felt when you are part of something. Many people felt that the building was not actually a building. For them it was still the street, the plaza, which was adapted to a different topography than the street. You can continue walking through Chapinero and enter your space without having any limits or barriers.

Like having many worlds in one closet.
It was important not only to understand the building as a superposition of completely different programs, but as an assembly of squares and gardens. Covered squares, stacked in height, which allow another way of understanding the programs, of living and building them. Facilitating the appearance of many places to find unscheduled situations.

How to know that you can do things without asking permission.
Many of the spaces are more like a forest than anything else. The trees of the building, the structure, are the equipment that allows people to feel empowered to affect. Enclosures are hung from these trees that allow visitors to configure the space to the specific needs at all times.

How to find a highly evolved pokemon
What is the structure of the "Center of Happiness" like? They are straight, solid and robust concrete pillars. They are triangular trusses that configure drawers. They are light and vertical metal pillars. They are uves and diagonals. They are three-dimensional cages. They are each and every one forming a single type of structure. A structure to adapt to each program and become another on the next floor.

Like having all the glasses in your house different.
Diversity of people due to the inclusivity and mix of classes, profiles and activities that they feel invited to participate. Diversity of aesthetics, due to the variety and mix of the materials and construction solutions chosen. Diversity of environments due to the ability of users to configure the final character of the spaces. But it is not a chaotic diversity, but clear.

How to put on someone else's coat.
Designed not for the tourist, but for the inhabitant even if it is from outside. Only the one who enters and uses it realizes the power of the place. A space that is mainly activated by the languages that dominate the city of Bogotá and its inhabitants, which learns from the near. A building that knows how to put on the shoes of its neighbors and offers to feel the happiness that comes from belonging to a place.

How to enjoy playing when you do not even consider the consequences.
The building rescues resilience as the ability to adapt and change, seek new balances. Evolve. Your entire program can be reprogrammed, both structurally and in a playful and emergent way. The spaces can be used in different ways but also the entire building is prepared to mutate its functionality. For this, it is thought of as a large playground, which encourages people to play different games and invent their own rules.

Like watching a concert on your father's shoulders.
Today remixing and sampling are fundamental elements in any creative process. The re-programmatic capacity of Sesc Pompeia, the structural lightness of the Cedric Price Aviary or the public space in height of the wall of Lugo are some of the learnings that are assembled in the creative journey that this project assumes. If we are able to see beyond, it is because we look on the shoulders of giants.

How not to have pockets.
We trust in quiet projects. Architectural quality completed with human quality, No budget waste or titanium alloy materials. This project proposes a logical but sophisticated structure, which places heavy things below and light things above, it does not boast but it is transformed boldly to facilitate the uses for which it has been thought.

How to feel more attractive at 60
There are materials and construction systems that gain over the years. Designed so that its maintenance is simple, and its aging turns spaces into more interesting places. Robust materials that learn how squares and streets are built. Doing interior design with civil engineering tools. And that dignified aging material facilitates the use and enjoyment of spaces from 0 to 120 years old.

How to discover that you are a neighbor of cockroaches and hummingbirds.
Knowing the building and knowing how to adapt it to the global context is knowing what it costs, but also what it consumes, both in its day-to-day and in its construction process. The ecological footprint and its daily evolution. This building cannot generate happiness without making transparent its responsible spending and its consequent operation, increasing the complexity of the type of spaces through simple operations.

How to find a wheelchair made with a terrace chair.
The main task of technology in the building will be to guarantee its universal accessibility. Thought from a low cost premise, an emerging technology that learns from the collective intelligence of the residents of Chapinero and that facilitates and increases the use of the building by the largest number of different people. The physical accessibility of the building is thought from the same place, removing barriers and increasing its functional diversity.





Manuel A. Monteserín Lahoz + Juan Chacón + Santiago Pradilla.


Manuel Alvarez-Monteserín lahoz

Juan Chacón

Santiago Pradilla


Daniele Pieralli



Structures: Antonio Fernández Caro

Infographics: 3d Manu-Facturas

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