La Candelaria

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Location: Antigua, Guatemala. Formerly degraded urban neighborhood in historically important Latin American colonial city

The project occupies 12.7 acres of redeveloped land in Antigua, Guatemala, a UNESCO world-heritage city and former Spanish colonial capital of Central America from 1543 - 1773 when the capital became Guatemala City. After being abandoned for 150 years, the city is again an exquisite example of Spanish Colonial town planning and architecture as well as being a national monument and tourist destination.

The site was historically situated on a gentle hillside in a neighborhood inhabited by artisans during colonial times. During the latter half of the 20th century, the neighborhood and surrounding hillside were razed and leveled to make room for a textile manufacturing plant.

Antigua, Guatemala is a city seeing substantial growth on its outskirts due to booming tourism and highly stringent regulations in the city's core. The main idea of this project is to revive the original neighborhood fabric that existed from the 16th century until the early 20th century and is one of the first of recent efforts to complement and contribute to the existing urban fabric and architectural integrity. This site would accomodate new development that provides technology and modern convenience while following and respecting the significant historical patterns of this world-renowned colonial city.

The project includes a diversity in housing sizes, utilizing the courtyard typology to create buildings that can reach a density of up to 24 units per acre, and includes retail space, two hotel sites, and three levels of underground parking. Due to height restrictions set by the city's conservation council, buildings in Antigua are restricted to one and a half stories tall. In order to increase the site's housing density, some buildings are planned with sunken courtyards that allow half or full story development below street level, also helping make the project financially viable. It is anticipated that portions of the undergrounding parking will serve tourists, thus easing parking concerns in the city's core.

Read more at this project's website.

Lessons learned: Significant educational work is needed in the area to reintroduce traditional city making practices; culturally, it is very important next time to engage the public and local officials right from the very beginning

Transect Zone(s): T4 general.
Status: Plan Approved
Project or Plan's Scale: Neighborhood
Features: Civic buildings & parks, Mixed uses, Transit oriented development.
Land area (in acres): 12
Total built area (in sq. ft.):
Total project cost (in local currency):
Retail area (in sq. ft.): 50
Office area (in sq. ft.):
Number of hotel units: 2
Number of residential units (include live/work): 220
Civic uses (type and size): restored plaza, courtyard, public garden, theatre/library
Parks & green space (in acres): 1
Project team designers: Castillo Arquitectos, Dover Kohl & Partners
Project team developers: Unknown

Previous site status: Redevelopment

Starting/Ending date of construction/implementation: 2007 - Present