Dezeen Magazine

Aerial Facades by Camilo Mønzón Navas

Drone footage offers aerial vantage of Bogotá's major architectural projects

Graphic designer Camilo Monzón Navas has used a drone to capture architectural sites across Colombia's capital city Bogotá, including projects by notable architect Rogelio Salmona, a bullring and a domed planetarium.

Navas came up with the idea for the Aerial Facades photoset while viewing the city from the top of the 10-storey apartment block he lives in. He said the impressive viewpoint prompted him to explore his home further and set out with a Mavic Pro personal drone to capture it from above.

"From the zenith views, the structures of the city's roofs, streets, parks and buildings are seen in a way not usual for all of us, because most of the time we see the world from the floor," Navas told Dezeen.

While images of densely packed developments and busy highways offer an overview of city life, Navas' series also focuses in on some of its most impressive architectural landmarks. These include buildings designed by Rogelio Salmona, who is regarded as one of Colombia's most important 20th-century architects.

"They are places of cultural and tourist interest in Bogotá, and many of these structures are architectural heritage of the city," he said.

Salmona's Virgilio Barco Library is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and praised for its integration into the surrounding parkland. Navas' image from above shows how the green space both wraps the red-brick library and slots between its assortment of volumes.

The Colombian architect's Towers of the Park, a residential complex in the city's Macerena district, also features in the photoset. Officially known as Residences The Park, it comprises three red brick towers and plenty of public green space.

The photography shows how the blocks are arranged in a curve around the city's Santamaría Bullring – a feature that Navas says might otherwise go unnoticed from the ground.

"What most struck me about these constructions is the beauty and geometry that we often let go unnoticed by the speed of the city itself, we do not stop to contemplate a little more what the city offers us," he said.

The bullring, completed in 1931, is also a structure of significance and was named a National Monument of Colombia in 1984. Other prominent buildings in the series include the domed Planetarium of Bogotá, which also functions as a cultural centre.

Navas, who is continuing to document the city on his Instagram account, aims to capture as much as he can in one day, but is often forced to stop on account of Bogotá's weather.

"The challenges are often climatic challenges," he said. "In Bogotá it rains a lot and I usually take all my photos at the same time, but many times I can not continue capturing images with the constancy I would like."

He then edits the photographs in Photoshop, heightening the contrast and tones. For example, strong orange hues in the image of the bullring contrast surrounding green areas, while amplified contrast in an elevated shot of the city's high-rises highlights the sun breaking through the clouds.

Navas also sometimes combines images taken from eye level and above, resulting in impossible folded landscapes like those seen in 2010 sci-fi movie Inception.

Drones are proving increasingly popular with architectural photographers. Recent projects have seen architect Mariana Bisti provide a tour of Hong Kong from above and videographer Chang Kim document the Chicago Riverwalk one year after its completion.