Track 3: For Power or For Passage: Re-envisioning Historic Industrial and Transportation Infrastructure

General Abstract

Railroad, invisible patrimony. Cultural territories in colombia-south america

Wednesday, September 26
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: HYATT-Regency

The railroad system in Colombia, was born as a dream of independence and progress pictured by Bolivar´s and Santander´s ideals, with the intentions of get into the county the same communication level that could be seen in Europe. Between 1850 and 1878, the first railways were built in Panama, Buenaventura, Barranquilla and Puerto Wilches, between 1880 and 1936 railways were built in Antioquia, Pacifico, Central, Santander and Magdalena, and in 1956 five railroad administrative divisions were created. Traces of these administrative structures, buildings, elements and architecture expressions, which were a huge part of the regional identity, have survived since the railroad system failed in the nineties and now they are subject of a constant risk due to the ignorance, abandonment, vulnerability and lost of the values, components and characteristics of what it once was a productive and prosperous system, that branded a past age of one of the biggest bonanza of the country.
By defining a railroad territory, a great part of the country can be acknowledged, in which humane organizations with political, economic and commercial components, were stablished and giving the different regions characteristics between the specialized and ordinary which, altogether with unmaterial manifestations have made possible the construction of identities still unknown and available for exploration.
The railroad terminals, railroad stations, and complementary elements (factories, warehouses, hospitals, schools, neighborhoods, houses and camps), the infrastructure and different civilian buildings product of non-urban contexts and functional elements (bridges, viaducts and civilian art buildings) and the ones determining complementary elements (artifacts, utility assets or art) would appear evident to our eyes but they are truly invisible and yet to be discovered, reviewed and acknowledged as a part of our cultural patrimony.
Document information about 3.872 km railroad, 16 departments, 44 municipalities, 429 stations, and 6.500 associated assets, along with the associated cultural patrimony thematic, was a field investigation job, unique in the country, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, reason why it is considered worthy of been socialized, of a position in history and get the acknowledgement of the details that marked the life of men and women who participated in an active and joint manner in urban and rural regions. Although the abrupt cease of activities of the railroad system, it denies going into the dark, forgotten in the past, because as a social and special unit, its elements make part of the Colombian territory identity.

Learning Objectives:

Claudia Patricia. Hernandez


Architect magister in restoration of architectural monuments - Universidad Javeriana,
Specialist in administration civil works - Bogotá, manager of Charqsas Company
Teacher in programs of architecture, heritage and restoration in Bogotá, Universidad Javeriana, La Salle and Jorge Tadeo from Cartagena.
Advisor for entities and projects to the rescue of the built heritage, national, department of culture.
Developed investigations and critical for the re-qualification of structures and places in abandonment, by means of the formulating the methodologies of approach that will allow the new generations to understand the extinct elements but preserve the original identity of the places.


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Deborah Slaton

WIss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Deborah Slaton is a Principal with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates in Northbrook, Illinois, specializing in historic preservation with a focus on modern structures and materials. She has served as lead author for numerous historic structures reports, preservation studies, conservation plans, and National Register nominations, and has co-authored numerous cultural landscape studies and historical assessments. Ms. Slaton is a Fellow of the Association for Preservation Technology International, a Director of the Historic Preservation Education Foundation, and a member of the Society of Architectural Historians Heritage Conservation Committee. She is author and editor of numerous papers and publications on preservation technology.


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Railroad, invisible patrimony. Cultural territories in colombia-south america

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