A Cultural Center for the North Zone of Cartagena de Indias (Colombia)


(Creation, Innovation and Social Inclusion Laboratory for T* Stratum)


The Corporation EL COLEGIO DEL CUERP0 (eCdC), based in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) founded in 1997, co – directed by dancers, choreographers and pedagogues Álvaro Restrepo (Colombia) and Marie France Delieuvin (France) will build in Pontezuela (North Zone of the city) its new headquarters, over a 4 hectares plot of land, acquired with resources from Cartagena de Indias´ Mayoralty. The architectural project, donated by architect Leopoldo Javier Combariza (Colombia), founding member of eCdC and of its  Board of Directors, is an ambitious and avant-garde design of 4500 square meters, that reflects in its configuration, fundamental aspects of social, pedagogical, artistic, environmental and technological innovation, all implicit in eCdC´s methodology since its foundation. Thanks to a subvention of 200.000 Euros from the Spanish International Cooperation Agency for Development (AECID), received in 2007, eCdC achieved the culmination of the architectural design, as well as the structural technical studies, construction licenses, etc.

This new cultural center located in the town of Pontezuela, at a 20 kilometers distance from the airport of Cartagena, has been conceived as a laboratory of innovation and social inclusion. As part of its mission, eCdC through its artistic, educative and cultural activities, searches to impact communities of all socio-economical strata that will share its territory. The native populations are mostly afro – descendants that have been living in nearby towns for generations: La Boquilla, Manzanillo del Mar, Tierra Baja, Zapatero, Punta Canoa, Bayunca and Pontezuela, among others. They will benefit with the offer of this cultural and educative center, as well as the inhabitants of the new condominiums being built, the students of private schools and universities, and commercial and business projects that are now being developed in this zone with great drive.

Convinced through the integrating and reconciliation power that Art, Culture and Education have over excluding societies, with such a torn social weaving, as it is Cartagena de Indias and the Colombian Caribbean Region, eCdC, as a nonprofit organization, has been characterized since its foundation for irradiating its activities to what we have called the T stratum (Talent stratum).

The Cultural Center of El Colegio del Cuerpo, will have the following installations and services: 

  • 6 professional Dance studios
  • 4 auxiliary polyvalent spaces for theoretical subjects and complementary body disciplines (Yoga, Pilates, etc.)
  • 2 spaces for the Technical Institute of the Spectacle – Instituto Técnico del Espectáculo (ELITE) (formation in theater technology trades: light, sound, stage, etc.)
  • Library and Multimedia spaces
  • 30 bedrooms (60 beds) for invited artists, students, teachers and visitors
  • 2 scenic spaces for Dance, Theater and Music events, lectures, symposiums, etc.

*El ATANOR – capacity: 80 spectators – closed space

460 spectators in stands – open space

*EL ARCA – capacity: 320 spectators – closed space

720 spectators in stands – open space

  • Restaurant / Cafeteria for 250 persons
  • Teachers´ staffroom
  • Administrative area
  • Store / eCdC´s franchise (art objects)
  • Semi – olimpic pool
  • 50 parking lots for private vehicules
  • 12 parking lots for buses

Green Architecture

The architectural design is conceived as an eco-sustainable habitat traced according to the parameters of Green Architecture.

  • All the spaces are covered with plants, thus decreasing between 5 and 10 centigrades the incidence of the ardent tropical climate, reducing also the demand of air conditioning.
  • The artificial climate control proposed (essential for soundproofing required by the Dance studios and the technical comfort in other work areas) will be made through avant-garde immersion of plates within the projected bodies of water.  
  • The exposed enclosures to the East and the West of each space are proposed in double walls, with air chamber and with the minimum perforations.
  • The surfaces exposed to the North and the South of each space are proposed with the maximum openness flexibility for the uptake winds, in the spaces that will not have artificial climate control (restaurant and bedrooms).
  • The cultivation of native flora species forming a botanical garden throughout the land, and the proposal of more than 30 patios that will favor the circulation of winds all around the territory, will become an additional means of shadow, freshness and amenity.
  • The choice of construction materials is oriented to diminish – to the maximum possibility -, the needs of maintenance and restoration of the architectural surfaces.  
  • Las baterías centrales de baños y vestieres están dotadas con la tecnología necesaria que permita el aprovechamiento y el reciclaje de aguas grises.
  • The central bathrooms and vestiers batteries are equipped with the necessary technology to permit the use and recycling of greywater. 


The Cultural Center EL COLEGIO DEL CUERPO will partially guarantee its sustainability from the sale of cultural, artistic, and educative services of high international level, based on its politics of inclusion and democratization of its offer.  Students and users with economical possibilities will subsidize those with less resources and opportunities of access to these goods and services.

  • Rental of spaces for cultural, artistic and educative events
  • Vacational courses open to the general public
  • Permanent programming of events in the scenic and academic spaces  (seminars, lectures, conferences, workshops, festivals)
  • Artistic and pedagogical exchanges
  • Eco- tourism activities
  • Programs of permanent formation for different academic levels (Artistic, Technical, professional and pre-professional)
  • Resident Professional Company (Compañía del Cuerpo de Indias)
  • Workshops and courses for companies, universities, schools, etc. about themes of integral body education and complementary disciplines
  • Store and art exhibition spaces
  • Restaurant and Cafeteria 

Financing strategy for the construction of the different areas: These will be divided by affinities of activities and cost centers; some will correspond to the construction phases. Several and diverse partners and sponsors will be proposed. Each space will have a plaque with the credit of the corresponding sponsor. 


  • 6 dance studios
  • 2 scenic spaces
  • El ITE  – Instituto Técnico del Espectáculo (Technical Institute of the Spectacle)
  • Residences
  • 4 spaces – Administrative area
  • Restaurant
  • Ojo de agua (Waterhole) / pool / jagüey
  • Biblioteca Library
  • Store
  • Botanical garden