Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bolivia. Typologies


Suburban on top of Urban. El Alto


Suburban on top of Urban. El Alto

Suburban on top of Urban. El Alto

Suburban on top of Urban. El Alto

Suburban on top of Urban. El Alto


Suburban . Zona Sur. La Paz

Suburban . Zona Sur. La Paz

There are a number of different housing typologies and sometimes they are hard to distinguish. But generally speaking, the lowest quality is in the el campo, or the Altiplano. It gets a little better in El Alto, as more economic opportunities are available. It could be argued that housing in the laderas is a step up from El Alto because of its location and proximity to Bolivia’s main city, but it is very vulnerable. As you descend, the housing becomes better and more expensive until you descend into Zona Sur where the wealthiest people live, hardly distinguishable from many US suburban neighborhoods. One architect here described it as the “US Style” where people want to have a home that looks like it came from the US. The funny thing is that this is starting to show itself in different places in El Alto, where people are actually building what look to be single family homes on top of a multiunit apartment. The only way they can afford such houses is to use the income from the rented apartments below to support the nice houses above.
The differences between the country and Zona Sur are pretty interesting as well. In Zona Sur, people generally place their home in the middle of the lot, with most of it being built in one go, with minor alterations afterwards. In rural areas, the house is usually spread out along the periphery of the lot with bedrooms in one building, the kitchen in another and the bathroom in another (if any) building. Typically, the dwelling has been a series of detached buildings. But, in El Alto, it is a hybrid approach, allowing people to moved toward more fixed “US style” buildings, while still maintaining the rural influence. Actually, El Alto seems to be a crazy mix of urban, rural, and suburban all thrown together right next to each other.

Rural Village . Ancoraimes (my home village)

Church on top of store. El Alto.

Typical Scene. El Alto.