Redeveloping Shopping Arcades To Ignite Urban Recovery [My Ideal City]

Redeveloping Shopping Arcades To Ignite Urban Recovery [My Ideal City]

Architect Winka Dubbeldam envisions reworking downtown Bogota into a mixed-use city-wide destination.

  • 28 april 2013

A proposal by architect Winka Dubbeldam and her team at Archi-Tectonics repositions a portion of downtown Bogota as a mixed-use city-wide destination. La Candelaria is a historic neighborhood in downtown Bogota that concentrates most of the cultural activity in the city with nearly 500 institutions or artistic groups, museums and Research and Education Centers.

In this neighborhood, you can find several old historic buildings, shopping passages, or interior arcades containing small crafts shops, tailor shops and restaurants. This sets up a micro environment and semi-public or private world inside the urban blocks.


These arcades, or interior passages, began to have notoriety in the late eighteenth century thanks to the new technologies available for the construction and use of steel and glass, thus being able to cover the passages with gorgeous large span skylights. Because of this,   interior patios could be connected through arcades to the street .

Eight remaining Arcades are still to be found in La Candelaria, and are waiting for a clever re-use and a major restoration of its glorious architecture.


The construction of the interior patio has been part of the South American architectural identity over the years. It has been an essential part of colonial houses, which were built around these private patios. The patios in the area of La Candelaria are often connected to shopping passages or arcades with elaborate architectures and decorations


One of these arcades is Pasaje Hernandez, a 2 story interior gallery built in 1890 by Juan Ballesteros, declared a National Monument a few years later after its construction. The arcade is located in Carrera 7 between Calle 12 and Calle 13, on the inside of the block.

In its first years, there were lawyers, doctors and engineers’ offices on  the upper level, and the lower level was occupied by shoe shops, barber shops, tailor shops and little grocery shops. Nowadays printing & plotting stores, international calling centers and some cheap clothing stores have taken over the building’s business.


This arcade has had 4 interventions throughout the years, where small parts  of the building have been repaired and replaced, such as the skylight’s glass, the wood floor and paint, without changing the building’s identity.

It contains 47 small stores throughout a 10,5FT. wide, 19,5 FT. tall and 147,5 FT. long central corridor, illuminated by metal & glass skylight, which runs  all along the building.


Another notorious arcade  in La Candelaria, is Pasaje Rivas. This arcade with a maze typology alludes to the city’s town square marketplaces in colonial times, by preserving hundreds of craft stalls and traditional Colombian products, an innovative use of its ancient typology.


Pasaje Rivas is located at Calle 10 with Carrera 10,  a few blocks away from  the Plaza de Bolivar and City Hall. The building was originally built in 1891 with a market on its first floor and a hostel for the artisans on the second floor. These arcades became a major attraction for artisans to come live in Downtown, and thus activated its economical growth.


Q. What abandoned spaces in your city or neighborhood would you revitalize and turn into recreational or sport areas?

Submit your answer now at the MyIdealCity site – or tweet your suggestion using #MyIdealCity and #UrbanCanvas


Over the next 6 months, PSFK will be covering urban trends that are changing the cities we live in at Contribute your ideas at the MyIdealCity site.


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