Modern and National? The (Non-) Exceptionalism of Colombian Architectural Identity

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Architecture in Latin America is cyclically underpinned by the quest to represent multiple identities: international, national, (Latin) American. During the 1930s, although modernist European architects became the reference for Latin American professionals, they were nonetheless of no help in developing national expressions of modernity. Tracing back the debate to the cultural turmoil of that decade with an eye on older topoi on environmental determinism, this article delves into various texts through which the identity of Colombian architectural modernism was constructed. Firstly, it highlights the link between territory, nation, and historical heritage that underpinned the definition of a system of values seen as typically Colombian but, in fact, comparable to that of other countries. Then, it focuses on the construction of Colombian modernism’s identity as opposed to different Latin American experiences, highlighting the role of local and international actors. The article also explains the centrality given to Bogotá and its architecture because of the climatic differences that made the country’s cool highlands similar to Europe and the USA and, therefore, the place where civilisation, development, and modern architecture were possible for the Colombian elites. Ultimately, this text documents an exemplary case, stressing the non-exceptionalism of the different representations of Latin American national modernisms.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Latin American Cultural Studies
Publication statusPublished Online - 9 May 2023


  • Colombia
  • architectural modernism
  • cultural identity
  • architecture and climate
  • architectural historiography


Dive into the research topics of 'Modern and National? The (Non-) Exceptionalism of Colombian Architectural Identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this