Simón Vélez


Click image to see slide show.

Current Work
Simón Vélez
Bamboo Structures
Moderated by Nat Oppenheimer

Thursday, February 24, 2011
7:00 p.m.
The Great Hall, The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
1.5 HSW CEUs

Click here to read an interview with Simón Vélez conducted following his Current Work lecture.

Simón Vélez, architect and pioneer in the contemporary use of bamboo as an essential building component, will present and discuss his recent work.

PUENTE EN LA CHINA 2_smSimon Vélez’s achievement utilizing bamboo as a desirable structural material for architecture grew out of close collaborations and relationships on-site. Often working in rural areas, Vélez capitalized on the lack of regulating authority and the relative difficulty of importing standard building materials such as brick and mortar to experiment with locally available materials. With Marcelo Villegas, he developed a mortar-filled joinery system that allows long-span and cantilevered structures to be built out of bamboo. By building only with his own well-trained crew of workers, Vélez has been able to draw upon past successes and failures in detailing. He intentionally keeps drawings simple, usually freehand on single sheets of 8×11 inch graph paper.

Completed work ranges from low-cost houses that can be built by their inhabitants to large-scale pavilions and commercial projects including: a bamboo pavilion for the Expo Hanover 2000; the Zócalo Nomadic Museum in Mexico City, which houses Gregory Colbert’s “Ashes and Snow”; and a bridge for Crosswaters Ecolodge, the largest commercial project in the world to use bamboo. The project received the American Society of Landscape Architects 2006 Analysis and Planning Award of Honor. In December 2009, he received The Principal Prince Claus Award for his contribution to a positive interaction between culture and development.

Simón Vélez graduated from the University of Colombia in Bogotá, where he lives and has practiced architecture for more than 40 years.

Nat Oppenheimer is a principal at Robert Silman Associates and is Treasurer of the Architectural League.

Tickets are required for admission to League programs. Tickets are free for League members and Cooper Union students, faculty, and staff; $15 for non-members. League members and the Cooper Union community may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: Tickets will be held at the check-in desk; unclaimed tickets will be released fifteen minutes after the start of the program. Non-members may purchase tickets here until 3:00 p.m. the day of the program.

Organized by the Architectural League of New York and The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. AIA and New York State continuing education credits are available.

The League gratefully acknowledges Alan Wanzenberg for his support of this program.  This program was made possible in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Images from top to bottom: Simón Vélez, Iglesia sin Religion, interior; Simón Vélez, Puente en la China


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