The glittering monuments of Quibdó, Colombia

Photographer Kurt Hollander has portrayed the unusual buildings of the Colombian city, covered with self-adhesive asphalt sheets with an aluminium surface, making them Shimmering Architecture.

Quibdó is a Colombian urban centre located in one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Originally a settlement of indigenous people, the city is now considered one of the largest afropoles in South America. Its urban development is linked to the nearby gold and platinum mines, which over time brought various people from the larger centres and the chaotic stratification of the city. Quibdó's history is essentially one of colonialist exploitation.

One particular architectural element has become a unique feature of Quibdó: sheets of self-adhesive asphalt with an aluminium surface, imported from China, cover entire buildings, making them shiny and glistening in the sun. The material is used because it can withstand extreme weather conditions and maintain a constant temperature inside the buildings.

This unique urban condition is the focus of the project Shimmering Architecture, by US photographer Kurt Hollander: “In precious metal territory, all that glitters is good, and this goes for buildings, as well. Shiny metal siding for buildings is a vertical status symbol, one that converts unattractive concrete and brick homes and buildings into sexy, shiny elements that stand out from their surroundings,” said Hollander.

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