Architecture of Colombia

Architecture of Colombia

Despite Colombia's multiple cultural heritage (European, Indian and African), its architecture is mostly the result of adapting European models to local conditions. The country's colonial buildings reflect their Spanish (and particularly Andalusian) origin, as seen in the traditional single-story houses laid around a central patio, to be found both in colonial towns such as Santafé (Bogotá), Tunja or Cartagena, or in rural haciendas throughout the country. After gaining its independence, Colombia severed its links with Spain and looked elsewhere for new models, first England, then France,[1] marking the beginning of what became known as Republican Architecture (Arquitectura republicana), an era that lasted well into the twentieth century, when the changes in architectural thinking in Europe brought Modern Architecture to the country during the last years before World War II.


Pre-Columbian period

Colonial period

Colombian architecture reflects seventeenth century Spanish colonial origins. Regional differences derive from those found in Spain. Thus, hints of Moorish and Castilian architecture are evident in many cities. Many areas have had difficulty maintaining older structures, and the climate has destroyed many Baroque buildings. The many churches that dot the landscape are among the country's architectural gems, whose interiors reflect the influence of Medieval and Renaissance churches in Spain. Newer buildings in larger cities utilize modern styles with adaptations of the Baroque style supplemented with wood and wrought-iron elements.

Republican (Republicano) Period

Painted ceiling and Murano chandelier at Teatro Colón, Bogotá. One of the finest, most lavish examples of Colombian architecture of the Republican period.

Modern architecture in Colombia

In the 1930s, Colombia began to embrace modern architecture. The new Liberal Party government tore down many older buildings to reject the conservative past. In their place, it constructed modern buildings with an international flavor.

Housing developments

Until the mid-1940s, most Colombians lived in single-family dwellings built of cinder blocks and covered with an adobe made of clay, cow manure, and hay. Uncontrolled urban growth due to massive migration from rural areas resulted in hughe informal settlements which make up the bulk of Colombia's housing problem up to the present time. Nonetheless, there have been a few notable examples of high-density housing projects (aimed, however, at the rising middle-classes) such as the Centro Antonio Nariño, which followed the principles of Le Corbusier, or the Torres del Parque by the famed architect Rogelio Salmona.




Some of the most important buildings in Colombia are:

Historic heritage



Cartagena-Santa Marta

Cúcuta-Villa del Rosario


Guadua architecture

Architectural styles in Colombia

Colonial architecture in Colombia

Neoclassical architecture in Colombia

Romanesque Revival architecture

Gothic Revival architecture

Neo-Mudéjar architecture

Art Deco architecture


  1. ^ Banco de la República. La arquitectura republicana en Cartagena. Available online at [1]. Consulted 09-11-2010

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