Monday, November 26, 2012

Is Central Bogotá Falling and Burning Down?

A few weeks ago this old home in La Candelaria simply collapsed one day. Since then, it's been cleaned out and boarded up. But will it be rebuilt?

A few months ago, this once-handsome building in the San Victorino shopping area burned down. I don't believe that anybody was killed or seriously injured, but dozens of shops were destroyed.

The owners have started demolishing the building, which is more than has happened in other cases.

This historic building burned about 25 years ago, a neighbor told me. Because of its historic status, repairing or replacing it is complicated. So, the owner has just left the burnt shell there.

And this building below, also in La Candelaria, was gutted by fire about four years ago. Since then, it's been covered with metal and plastic - and left to decay further.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Richard McColl said...

Left to the elements these beautiful elements of architectural heritage will crumble into dust. The bureaucracy and cost involved in restoring heritage buildings means it is more financially viable to permit them to become rubble before doing anything. Something needs to be done to promote greater attention and a fund of financial aid needs to be created so this practice doesn't become the norm.

Miguel said...

The best solution, of course, would be to strengthen the economy enough so that the buildings are worth more standing that not. But even then, there are apathetic and neglectful owners.

I wonder how other cities handle this situation? Here in La Candelaria there are lots of empty buildings which are slowly rotting...

Carlito said...

I consider that the laws of building preservation do more harmful than good; every person wants a beautiful building to be preserved but no one wants to live on them or pay for the restoration. Why should the governement pay for this? Some are part of our history but most of them are rotting because the law doesnt allow the owners to demolish them... which is pretty akward because I should be able to do with my property what I want... so having a beautiful house or building becomes a curse,that's why nobody wants to build something beatiful anymore... it becomes a problem later if the owner wants to build something else.

Miguel said...

Hi Carlito. Thanks for your comment.

I believe that government must play an important role in historic preservation in order to preserve the common good. Case in point is a very traditional local theatre, whose building had a historic, depressed, tiled patio with a fountain in it. The place had become something of a neighborhood landmark. A hamburger joint bought the theatre, turned it into a restaurant and completely redid the patio, removing the fountain and old tiled flooring. The result will probably make more money for the hamburger chain, but it's a much greater loss for Bogotá's historic center. Mike