At first sight, the BD Bacata may seem like just another skyscraper, but there's much more to its vertical, glistening facade than meets the eye. The first skyscraper to be built in Colombia in 40 years, the BC Barata will be made possible by over 3,800 Colombians who crowdfunded $200 million dollars (cash) in exchange for corresponding shares in the development. With this massive amount of local financial support made possible by the Prodigy Network, the BD Bacata project is the world's largest crowdfunding campaign to date.
Projected for completion in the year 2015, the new green skyscraper is a true inspiration for community-responsive urban design. Yes, it will be Colombia’s first skyscraper in 40 years and upon completion, it will be the tallest in the country. However, the most intriguing feature of the project is that it will be built by the community, for the community. As a new method of communal real estate funding, the intrinsic community spirit involved in the project will hopefully lead to a positive impact on Bogota, which has seen massive growth over the last ten years, but with little progress in terms of effective urban planning.
The groundbreaking crowdfunding campaign was made possible by the Prodigy Network, founded in 2003 by real estate entrepreneur and Bogota native Rodrigo Niño. According to Mr. Niño, one of the most troubling issues of emerging cities like Bogota is urban sprawl caused by expansive growth, creating an enormous carbon footprint due to the accompanying traffic congestion.
However, real estate projects in the city are limited due to lack of funds and resources, resulting in lengthy commutes for workers living outside of the city. The fact that the last skyscraper built in Colombia was over 40 years ago highlights the stalled progress of a country that is continuously growing in population.
With the BD Bacata project, the Prodigy Network has implemented an intriguing and unique solution to this debilitating urban issue: crowdfunding. The ambitious plan eschewed funding from real-estate tycoons and banks in favor of individual contributions in return for ownership of corresponding shares. And with so much success on a local level, it’s obvious that the support for the project stems from more than just potential financial return. The development aims to not only bring real value to the city by creating comfortable living and working options to the local familes, but with its numerous sustainable elements, the project also promises to minimalize harmful impacts on the local environment in every way possible.
Upon completion, the BD Bacata will be a massive 1.2 million square foot project with office space, retail, apartments and a 364 room hotel. However, more than a multi-use structure, the BC Bacata development is on track to become an environmental icon for the city as well. A number of environmentally conservative measures will be implemented in the design such as a building-wide efficient water management system and strategic climate control measures.
For water control and management, a building-wide strategic system of efficient water management will avoid wasteful run-off and implement a three cycle system of grey water reuse when possible. Adding to the project’s water conservation on the interior, the BD Bacata will be equipped with a beautiful green roof with natural vegetation and a drainage system meant to collect rain water for the building’s maintenance use and perhaps as a potential point of hydration for migratory birds.
For temperature control and lighting, the building will use an abundance of large insulated windows to illuminate the interior. By taking advantage of the natural light, a projected 30 percent reduction in energy consumption is estimated. Additionally, climate studies were conducted to show the light distribution variables throughout the year as well as the average temperatures in Bogota over the last century. Using these studies, the project team estimates that it will be possible to eliminate 50 percent of air conditioning and heating systems use by properly insulating the building’s façade. By strategic placement of windows, walls and concrete slabs, the building will be able to take advantage of its natural environment to control ambient temperatures as much as possible.
In order to create a healthy environment throughout the construction process and afterwards, the building procedures will follow a strict system of atmospheric emissions management and control, focusing on particulate matter control and protection of building materials to prevent air pollution and harmful impacts on workers’ health. Additionally impressive is the integrated solid waste management system built into the project. During the construction process, waste or hazardous recyclables will be delivered directly to the appropriate registries and recyclable waste metal cuts will be delivered to junkyard specialists for processing. Any harmful chemicals will be delivered to specialists for treatment in order to prevent potential environmental contamination.