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Potosi, Bolivia

Revitalisation of the Ribera de los Ingenios (2002, 2014)

Introduction

Potosi is located in south west Bolivia in the high Andes Mountains. It spans between 4100 and 3700 m above the sea level. It was first registered in 1545. In that year local indigenous referred to the high silver contents of the soil in the summit of a conic shaped Mountain they called "Sumaj Orcko".   Speculators would rapidly settle just at the bottom of the mountain, Spaniards coming from all colonial cities of New Spain and natives hoping to work for them. The city would develop rapidly and with little control. Around 1610 Potosi had more than 120 thousand inhabitants and was one of the largest cities in the world in population. Throughout its history, Potosi experienced several economic ups and downs, mainly connected to the decline of mineral contents in the rock, recovering when new techniques were introduced. From 1885 on, tin would replace silver as the main exploited commodity. The Ribera de los Ingenios was the time it was erected the largest industrial agglomeration worldwide. The water stream was artificially modified to provide water to 140 refineries. The evident need to protect it emerged in the early 1980s, when extreme poverty had struck Potosi after the low tin, silver, lead and wolfram concentration in the mine made its exploitation not viable. Sightseeings of Potosi and Region: Rich Hill Sumaj Orcko, Tarija Street, Historic Mining Centre Pulacayo

Today's challenges in

Potosi

Today around 60% of the local population depend on the mining industry, still exploited under very primitive conditions. New markets are driving the prices of mineral commodities, yet poverty in Potosi is still very present. Half of its population live in poverty conditions and around 14% under extreme poverty conditions. The historic city centre is very densely built and lacks green and amenity space. Surrounded forests were sacrificed for charcoal and firewood use during the first decades of mineral exploitation. Indeed, the century long treatment of minerals with basically no pollution relief measures has left a sequel of high soil and ground water contamination. No strict legislation is useful given the high levels of corruption in public administration. The lack of basic school education, adequate infrastructure and infant work are a picture of the severe poverty in Potosi.

Proposed revitalisation

strategy

The proposal combines integrally revitalisation options which seek wide impacts for the citizens. After the enforcement of policies for relocation of refineries out of the urban area, these sites are used to create necessary infrastructure to boost social and economic development.   The environmental recovery of the river and artificial water streams will create a natural and attractive green ribbon that crosses the city. It shall be used to provide urban gardens and parks for locals. The former industrial infrastructure is recovered for commercial, cultural and educational use. Four development nodes have been assigned for different purposes. The new architecture shall be designed with passive design solutions, with minimal impact on the existing industrial heritage and expressing openness and a new beginning to the local population. An electric tram has been  proposed to cross the entire city along a green ribbon, connecting the strategic development nodes and also providing a link to neighbour urban centres.

Regeneration Node

Velarde

Velarde is the largest historical refinery and perhaps the most valuable one, because it describes the historical development of the technologies for mineral refinery, visible in the existing building heritage. The proposal suggests to combine different functions, among them exhibition fair halls, an open air theatre, green areas and local market. Sketch Velarde market Providing a safe and clean space for local food producers shall help to manage the issues of informal street vendors distributed in the city. Their sector is after mining the largest economic sector in Potosi.

Regeneration Node

Dolores

The second development node, Dolores, shall be dedicated to the tourism economy. It combines four former refineries, and proposes a small park, a youth hostel, a souvenir market and gastronomy along a series of pedestrian zones and children playgrounds.

Regeneration Node San

Marcos

San Marcos is a pioneering development for the revitalisation of former refinery facilities in Potosi. The industrial building was restored and adapted to accommodate gastronomic services, at the same time being a small museum. So far it is the only example of its kind in Potosi. LEFT Revitalised Refinery, external view of main entrance. RIGHT Restaurant in former machine room

Regeneration Node Cooperativas

The development node Ingenio Cooperativas is dedicated to research and education. It shall host institutes for the development of local technologies which shall consolidate the economic transformation of Potosi. Among the innovative disciplines to be implemented here are: research for generation and implementation of renewable energies in the highlands, phyto- and bioremediation for the natural recovery of the mining pollution in soil and water systems in the region and the rest of the country, optimisation of agriculture at high altitude and other ones. This site could be a unique location for the research of these sciences. Cooperativas Scheme Design
HERITAGE & SUSTAINABILITY
© 2006 - 2015 Systemarchi

Potosi, Bolivia

Revitalisation of the Ribera de

los Ingenios (2002, 2014)

Introduction

Potosi is located in south west Bolivia in the high Andes Mountains. It spans between 4100 and 3700 m above the sea level. It was first registered in 1545. In that year local indigenous referred to the high silver contents of the soil in the summit of a conic shaped Mountain they called "Sumaj Orcko".   Speculators would rapidly settle just at the bottom of the mountain, Spaniards coming from all colonial cities of New Spain and natives hoping to work for them. The city would develop rapidly and with little control. Around 1610 Potosi had more than 120 thousand inhabitants and was one of the largest cities in the world in population. Throughout its history, Potosi experienced several economic ups and downs, mainly connected to the decline of mineral contents in the rock, recovering when new techniques were introduced. From 1885 on, tin would replace silver as the main exploited commodity. The Ribera de los Ingenios was the time it was erected the largest industrial agglomeration worldwide. The water stream was artificially modified to provide water to 140 refineries. The evident need to protect it emerged in the early 1980s, when extreme poverty had struck Potosi after the low tin, silver, lead and wolfram concentration in the mine made its exploitation not viable. Sightseeings of Potosi and Region: Rich Hill Sumaj Orcko, Tarija Street, Historic Mining Centre Pulacayo

Today's challenges in Potosi

Today around 60% of the local population depend on the mining industry, still exploited under very primitive conditions. New markets are driving the prices of mineral commodities, yet poverty in Potosi is still very present. Half of its population live in poverty conditions and around 14% under extreme poverty conditions. The historic city centre is very densely built and lacks green and amenity space. Surrounded forests were sacrificed for charcoal and firewood use during the first decades of mineral exploitation. Indeed, the century long treatment of minerals with basically no pollution relief measures has left a sequel of high soil and ground water contamination. No strict legislation is useful given the high levels of corruption in public administration. The lack of basic school education, adequate infrastructure and infant work are a picture of the severe poverty in Potosi.

Proposed revitalisation

strategy

The proposal combines integrally revitalisation options which seek wide impacts for the citizens. After the enforcement of policies for relocation of refineries out of the urban area, these sites are used to create necessary infrastructure to boost social and economic development.   The environmental recovery of the river and artificial water streams will create a natural and attractive green ribbon that crosses the city. It shall be used to provide urban gardens and parks for locals. The former industrial infrastructure is recovered for commercial, cultural and educational use. Four development nodes have been assigned for different purposes. The new architecture shall be designed with passive design solutions, with minimal impact on the existing industrial heritage and expressing openness and a new beginning to the local population. An electric tram has been  proposed to cross the entire city along a green ribbon, connecting the strategic development nodes and also providing a link to neighbour urban centres.

Regeneration Node Velarde

Velarde is the largest historical refinery and perhaps the most valuable one, because it describes the historical development of the technologies for mineral refinery, visible in the existing building heritage. The proposal suggests to combine different functions, among them exhibition fair halls, an open air theatre, green areas and local market. Sketch Velarde market Providing a safe and clean space for local food producers shall help to manage the issues of informal street vendors distributed in the city. Their sector is after mining the largest economic sector in Potosi.

Regeneration Node Dolores

The second development node, Dolores, shall be dedicated to the tourism economy. It combines four former refineries, and proposes a small park, a youth hostel, a souvenir market and gastronomy along a series of pedestrian zones and children playgrounds.

Regeneration Node San

Marcos

San Marcos is a pioneering development for the revitalisation of former refinery facilities in Potosi. The industrial building was restored and adapted to accommodate gastronomic services, at the same time being a small museum. So far it is the only example of its kind in Potosi. LEFT Revitalised Refinery, external view of main entrance. RIGHT Restaurant in former machine room

Regeneration Node

Cooperativas

The development node Ingenio Cooperativas is dedicated to research and education. It shall host institutes for the development of local technologies which shall consolidate the economic transformation of Potosi. Among the innovative disciplines to be implemented here are: research for generation and implementation of renewable energies in the highlands, phyto- and bioremediation for the natural recovery of the mining pollution in soil and water systems in the region and the rest of the country, optimisation of agriculture at high altitude and other ones. This site could be a unique location for the research of these sciences. Cooperativas Scheme Design
HERITAGE & SUSTAINABILITY
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