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Taller Tropical Moravia

A project from Oasis Urbano
in Medellin, Colombia

Taller Tropical Moravia - Building a self-organized cultural center for environmental education, sustainability and healthy nutrition in the informal neighborhood of Moravia, in the heart of the Colombian metropolis of Medellín

Oasis Urbano
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About this project

The Taller Tropical Moravia is a collectively developed and operated space for community learning and cultural exchange. The open educational and experimental workshop serves as a sustainable prototype in an informal context.

Where The informal neighborhood of Moravia in Medellín looks back at a troubled genesis on the city’s garbage dump. Over decades, its multicultural community has accomplished an extraordinary transformation into a safe and productive living environment. In its dense urban fabric, a protected place will be created where particularly young people, women and other disadvantaged groups can learn, work and be creative together.

What has happened so far Since 2016, we have been working as a Colombian-German collective in Moravia. In 2018, we co-designed and built a prototype, consisting of an open classroom, a community garden, and a mobile learning kitchen. Over 10,000 habitants from Moravia and guests from around the world visited the first Taller Tropical Moravia and participated in its diverse, community-organized activities. In April 2021, the temporary structure was dismantled and put into storage to be reused in the new building. We have bought a building lot and together with the community developed a concept that builds on the experience of recent years.

The building and its program The cooking school on the first floor offers cooking classes for healthy nutrition. Many health problems in the neighborhood result from unhealthy eating habits. Here, families learn to cook balanced, affordable and delicious meals. The kitchen is a social place for community meals, and contributes to the sustainability of the project and the neighborhood as a restaurant and training facility. On the second floor, an open workshop provides opportunities to develop innovative low-tech methods for recycling plastic waste and producing objects and items. Moravia's history is closely tied to recycling. Local recyclers can become upcyclers here, making the neighborhood a sustainable leader in the field. On the third floor, artist residences invite guests from around the world. Instead of money, they pay with knowledge, art or skills by offering workshops or implementing projects. Cultural exchange, a cornerstone of the project, will be taken to a new level, enabling fruitful exchanges between the community and the world. The top floor will be developed as an open multi-functional space in bamboo that can be used for educational and cultural programs and serve as a classroom, dance studio or forum.

The project tests sustainable strategies in an informal context. With green facades, rainwater harvesting and building materials from the RecyclingLab, it contributes to Moravia's sustainable transformation beyond the building. Free educational opportunities create new sources of income and highlight alternative livelihoods. The Taller Tropical Moravia thus contributes to a self-determined, sustainable and healthy living environment in the short and long term.