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2014 MCHAP

Collective Intelligences


Palomino, Lima, Santo Domingo, Managua, Dominican Republic



Juan Jones Aleñar / Zoohaus Mae Durant Vidal / Zoohaus Lys Villalba Rubio Elisa de los Reyes García López / Zoohaus David Jacques Leon Berkvens / Zoohaus Esteban Fuertes González / Zoohaus Luis Galán García / Zoohaus Luis de Prada Hervás / Zoohaus Manuel Domínguez Fernández / Zoohaus Juan A. Chacón Gragera / Zoohaus Manuel Pascual García / Zoohaus


AECID (Funding) Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Collaborating University) Escuelab - Society and Tech Center (Collaborating Organization) Santo Domingo AECID Cultural Center (Collaborating Organization) Universidad Iberoamericana - UNIBE (Collaborating University)


Environment and Natural Resources Ministry Lima AECID Cultural Center (CCELima) Managua AECID Cultural Center (CCEManagua)




Inteligencias Colectivas is centered on architectural, planning and design techniques that combine conventional know-how with present-day needs. Re-usable, semi-industrialized, craft and manufactured materials are incorporated into this study. While this initiative is geared mainly toward amateur builders, it aspires to something greater: to encourage and cultivate citizen science. We define our urban development method by five concepts to address the future urban development: QUALITATIVE URBANISM: Quantitative urbanism is based on standard data, qualitative urbanism understands that each urban context is exceptional and complex. As city planners we work as urban “tailors”, designing cities and towns that are especially adapted for the needs of their residents. OPEN-SOURCE DESIGN: It is freely adapting existing methods. But it also serves to promote they can be freely replicated and evolved. Once the urban process is finished, we create detailed technical documents as protocols for processes to be easily replicated. ASSEMBLING: Assembly is daily routine for informal settlements inhabitants, yet it is often a challenge for designers. Assembly becomes frequent when close-at-hand materials and techniques must be used to respond to a basic need, and the project becomes a combination of isolated parts. RE-PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE: We must give a second life to objects: when materials, objects, buildings or places cannot longer be used for a purpose, they may be useful in a new function and that may mean an adaptation. SHARED URBAN MANAGEMENT: We think that citizen participation is needed in the whole process and evolution of urban space, from the first decisions to its design, building and management.


Every region of the world has its own variety of construction techniques. The coexistence of different degrees of industrialization and development allows the mixing of semi-industrial products with old and enduring techniques that remain valid in non-standard environments. Thus, many constructive solutions without a proper architectural planning pervade, generating a very wide range of procedures which are based in a popular and inherited wisdom, but also revised and combined with a great deal of improvisation in terms of new materials and techniques. In Europe and North America, the limited amount of opportunities for modifying the built environment is especially prescient. Professional urban development fields are characterized by simplification and the loss of cultural relevance caused by a suite of factors: excesses of government control; the monopoly of trademarks and patents; the homogenization of neighborhoods; the deterioration of historic identity; and the strong division between architecture and the needs of its inhabitants. In this globalized era, custom construction solutions need to be incorporated into the building process as a way to make longstanding social traditions and our ever-changing built environment commensurable. Few locations around the world still champion native construction techniques. While communal social structures have been lauded for their resourcefulness, low energy inputs and versatility, their assembling patterns are considered outside of the mainstream. As a result, the lived experience of makeshift culture has proved to be quite elusive.


Even in developed countries, different levels of industrial and economic development have facilitated the merging of old craft techniques with semi-industrial products. The results can be seen in squatter settlements, for example, but these methods are often reviled and disappear once larger building “improvements” take place. Our catalog of prototypes learn and improve the collective intelligent constructions and devices discovered and uploaded from all over the world on to the online platform. From the local human network we inherently collaborate to built this architectures that respond to their needs. We have built: +In Lima [Peru] we built a Playground with Recycled Materials in collaboration with a public school in the middle of the desert in Jicamarca, with two metal baskets, bamboo beams and local materials adapted for game and shadow elements. In Cantagallo, an amazon native community established in the city center we built a Composting Toilet prototype with their own materials. In Escuelab Society and Tech Center we developed a Bike-Illuminated Sign made out of plastic recycled bottles for researchers to sweat the ideas out and light their own sign. In AECID Cultural Center we built a Twin Mobile Grandstands to expand center activities such as book markets to the square nearby. +In Palomino [Colombia] a Library & Sport Center for young kids, a Cultural Center for local dancers and six Composting Toilets [non-water using toilets] prototypes. All projects are contemporary designs built with local wood [guadua] and palm tree roofing, which implies an evolution of the traditional techniques by working with local artisans and experts. +In Santo Domingo [Dominican Republic] we built an Ecological Station with ecological infrastructures as rain harvesting system, dry toilets and bamboo ventilated roof. The reused container with plastic barrels debris concrete foundation, transforms into flexible pop-up community space open to the park area. Ecological infrastructures work as seeds to become appropriated technologies. +In Managua [Nicaragua] a Viewpoint Grandstand at the community space in AECID Cultural Center that enables people to programme their own events and be able to have meetings in an open-air natural environment and have, at the same time, some amazing views of the city. In this globalized era, custom construction solutions need to be incorporated into city building processes as a way to make longstanding social traditions and our ever-changing built environment commensurable.

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