Alejandro Aravena mixes a bank and a bridge to help the poor

The architect’s new proposal for Buenos Aires Villa 31 neighbourhood will help the city’s poorest cross the tracks
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Elemental's new garden bridge building proposal for Buenos Aires. Images courtesy of Elemental
Elemental's new garden bridge building proposal for Buenos Aires. Images courtesy of Elemental

The residents of Villa 31 in Buenos Aires live, quite literally, on the wrong side of the tracks. While their neighbourhood of poor, informal housing, is only separated from the richer districts of the Argentinian capital by highways and the railroad lines of the city’s main train station, many homes in Villa 31 lack drinking water and a decent bathroom. 

The progressive Chilean architect and 2016 Pritzker Prize-winner Alejandro Aravena isn’t going to lay the pipes and install the toilet bowls for all of Villa 31’s needy residents, however, he does have a plan to offer them greater access to daily necessities.  

 

Elemental's new garden bridge building proposal for Buenos Aires
Elemental's new garden bridge building proposal for Buenos Aires
 

Aravena’s practice, Elemental, has been commissioned to design new quarters for the Inter-American Development Bank, and have drawn up plans for an office-building-and-garden-bridge, linking Villa 31 to the city’s better-off Recoleta neighbourhood.  

 

Elemental's new garden bridge building proposal for Buenos Aires
Elemental's new garden bridge building proposal for Buenos Aires

The development, which should break ground next January, will not only serve as a new civic space for Villa 31’s inhabitants, but will also afford the greater access to key public transport connections, and perhaps even greater job opportunities the area sorely needs. Nice work Alejandro.

 

Elemental

For more on Aravena’s forward-thinking architectural practice, take a look at his book, Elemental here.


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