A house reinterprets the vernacular settlement in Ecuador

Reinterpreting the vernacular settlement, a residential architecture in Ecuador imagines a new alliance between man and nature, far from the traditional concept of living.

The Ecuadorian studio Al Borde has designed the house for a client who has studied ecology as an ecosystem envisioning a new relationship between man and nature. The dwelling's water closet and bathing area are located in two volumes independent from the main body, turning the external garden into the circulation space. But nature is not only here. It is also in constructive elements, for example, in the local lechero trees, which, as in the reconstructed huts in the nearby Cochasquí Archaeological Park, are used as living props. And it is also in hybridized spaces, such as the greenhouse-shower enclosed by light corrugated polycarbonate sheets, in which the action of washing coexists with growing plants.

The main pavilion is defined by a C-shaped adobe wall, open on the south side and screened by a lechero living porch. Two standard section beams support the timber roof, surmounted in succession by staves, a waterproof membrane, and raw earth elements, among which wild herbs will grow.

domus - Al borde, Casa-jardín
Al Borde, Casa-jardín, Conocoto, Ecuador 2020. Phto JAG Studio

For the resident, evacuating is an important ritual and part of a wider process, so much so that once he reaches the outhouse, there is only glass between him and nature. The permaculture system requires that black and gray waters are treated, filtered, and reused to hydrate various fruit trees. Organic waste is collected in a composter fertilizing the vegetable garden and medical herb soil. These and other solutions, such as the use of the earth obtained from the excavation for the construction of the bricks, make this project particularly interesting from the point of view of the circularity mechanisms implemented, obtained from a critical reinterpretation of vernacular wisdom and a holistic vision of contemporary living in relation to natural cycles.

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