La Ultima Esperanza – a school in Ecuador

London Design Museum has announced the nominees for Designs of the Year 2015 awards. There are 76 nominees in over 6 categories and architecture is obviously amongst them. While browsing I bumped into The Last Hope project developed with the help of Al Borde Arquitectos.

I was inspired by the fact the community has been involved and by the simplicity the project has been carried out with.

Architects: AL BORDE, David Barragán, Pascual Gangotena, Marialuisa Borja & Esteban Benavides
Colaborator: Grace Pozo
Site: Manabí – Ecuador
Constructor: AL BORDE + Volunteers + Community
Design: 2011
Construction: 2011
Area: 140m2 aprox.
Budget: US$ 700, all the community material and all the work of the volunteers and community
Photographs: Francisco Suarez, Esteban Cadena, Sebastián Melo, Andrea Vargas, Grace Pozo and AL BORDE

The resources we had were the ones that defined the project: Irregularly shaped materials. Fishing and farming tools. Strong and skilled laborers who do not understand accuracy in terms of centimeters. The support of city volunteers who understand centimeters but have no labor experience. And a specific area with fuzzy boundaries. It was clear that the project would dispense with topography plans, would not need AutoCAD or Neufert.

Money is only another resource, as are human and natural resources. A simple system of minimal complexity is capable of adapting to the unpredictable variables of the land, labor and materials. The system allows for the discussion of the design and decisions at the time of construction.

Each person had a preferred task in the construction and involuntarily became good at it. Then began a process of perfecting the techniques; this led to specialists in each activity, optimizing processes. Finally the transfer of knowledge to another person is what ended up enriching the team. The possibilities of the system allowed the building to stop growing when the team deemed necessary.

The construction time was one week. The goal was to build a logical process of collective construction and understand the scope of the system. Once the community understood the process, we were no longer needed.

Via and some of the photos

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