El Alto, Bolivia

Dressed to kill

The buildings of Freddy Mamani Silvestre reflect economic and social transformations in the city of El Alto. Stretching to touch the sky, these structures capture the symbolic spirit of the Aymara culture.

Photos: Juan Ignacio Severín | many thanks to Hotel Stannum
       

There are already more than 60 of these palaces throughout the city of El Alto. They symbolize the economic rise of many Aymara – once farmers and traders – who are proud of their ancestral heritage.

There are already more than 60 of these palaces throughout the city of El Alto. They symbolize the economic rise of many Aymara – once farmers and traders – who are proud of their ancestral heritage.

More than ten years ago, Mamani (below, right) began using the concept of New Andean architecture to transform the city of El Alto, which once had one of the slowest growing economies in the region.

More than ten years ago, Mamani (below, right) began using the concept of New Andean architecture to transform the city of El Alto, which once had one of the slowest growing economies in the region.

The multicolored façades take inspiration from <i>la chakana</i> (the Andean cross), <i>los aguayos</i> (colorful blankets), Wari tapestries and Tiwanacota figures.

The multicolored façades take inspiration from la chakana (the Andean cross), los aguayos (colorful blankets), Wari tapestries and Tiwanacota figures.

 

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