Altos de Cazucá, Soacha, Colombia

El Equipo de Mazzanti

Altos de Cazuc', a neighborhood just outside of Bogot', developed organically in the 1970s as peasants fled rural areas plagued by the ongoing armed conflict. In 2004 the Pies Descalzos ("barefoot") foundation, led by singer Shakira, began a collaboration with two schools in the crime-ridden area, and then, with Spanish NGO Ayuda en Acci'n, worked with Bogot'-based architect Giancarlo Mazzanti to construct this new shelter, completed in 2011, to protect the play yard from rain and sun. The concept: to design a modular system that could grow over time to link to other nearby public spaces. Slender steel columns support a treelike canopy of steel-framed dodecahedrons, wrapped with a metal mesh and enclosing a sheet of translucent polycarbonate. As is typical, the court is the heart of the community, hosting sporting events, but also markets and festivals. Says Mazzanti, "The canopy has become a central gathering space for the people here."