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2018 MCHAP

Housing Complex Ex Hotel Colonial

MCM+A Taller de Arquitectura

Quito, Ecuador

February 2016


Pablo Antonio Moreira Viteri Maria Natalia Corral Fierro Yadhira Susana Álvarez Castellano Milton Vladimir Chavez Aguirre Ruben Moreira Velasquez


Marcelo Gualotuña (Design Team) Christine Vansluys (Design Team) Sofia Salas (Design Team) Pedro Endara (Design Team) Kaethe Wuensch (Design Team) Luis Quiroz (Design Team) Diana Espinosa (Design Team) Guillermo Gómez (Structural Engineer ) Edison Guerrero (Construction ) Jesus Loor (Project Administrator ) Pablo Castro (Oversight)


Municipio del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito, Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio


Sebastian Crespo Camacho


The project proposes the revaluation of two architectural pieces of different heritage value: a first block (A) built in the 1940s, of a marked longitudinality, which characterizes the urban front to the Ave. 24 de mayo (old ravine), and a second block (B), built in the 1960s, implanted in the back of the lot; proposing to emphasize the existing void between blocks. In addition to this, the void shows a tension on its central axis generated by the space between the two volumes, this creates a reading as a whole and not of isolated pieces. It can be said that rather than maintaining existing buildings, the objective is to maintain the existing void. As a result, there are different strategies for the intervention. The recognition of the current state of the buildings and the possible contributions of each block to its architectural, structural, typological and functional values. In this sense, the horizontality of block A is maintained, which characterizes the perspective of the whole from Ave. Maldonado, while in block B we choose the construction of four small two-story towers Moreover, the 27 proposed homes are divided into two building typologies, the linear block and the isolated tower. Connecting through a common base by means of walkways the four towers function as a single block. The transversal connection of the complex is solved by an internal circuit that connects open spaces for communal use.


The Housing Complex "Hotel Colonial" is located in San Sebastian, a traditional neighborhood that is part of the crown of neighborhoods surrounding the Historic Center of Quito, developed between an old ravine (current Av. 24 de mayo), and Panecillo, a hill that dominates the landscape of the area and is a small biodiversity reserve in the heart of Quito. It functioned as a lodging site between 1940-80, the intervention proposes to recover the old hotel into a housing complex of social interest. The housing project is a challenge that puts into discussion issues of great importance for architecture, city construction, and the type of interventions proposed in the historic center. The strategy of urban acupuncture that inserts the intervention in a consolidated fabric, from which the challenge is resolving the integration between new structures and pre-existing ones, trying to establish a new unit that valorizes and energizes the existing without destroying or excluding it. The project seeks to interpret the heritage beyond the "well preserved" and understand it as a living, dynamic and vital heritage, in which history and memory are activated by the proposal. This implies thinking of the project as a place of the everyday, the socially appropriate, what is enjoyed and where one lives, capable of welcoming old, new and multiple practices. Moreover, the site of the project has some peculiarities, it is located in the center of a block whose access is achieved through a small private passage. Besides this, the passage has quality visuals towards the urban landscape.


The project was developed as part of an inter-institutional cooperation between the municipal government of Quito, through the Metropolitan Institute of Heritage and the Junta de Andalucía. It was Conceived as a social housing project, focused on families and young people who work in the historic center area of the city. The construction of the project has been completed and the Municipality is currently developing the process of selling and selecting recipients of the housing units. “El Panecillo”, is one of the most powerful geographical features that limits the Historic Center of Quito. It has an approximate altitude of 2900 meters above sea level, and is characterized by being a natural viewpoint of the city. The project incorporates two strategies to relate to El Panecillo. The first, is through its volumetric proposal, which allows visual sequences from the top of the hill to the lower parts of the ground, and from the upper parts to the surrounding landscape. Moreover, the project proposes a sequence of volumes that incorporate voids between them, with the objective to allow clear visuals towards its surroundings. It has been important to recognize the stepped form of the hill and the form of the urban landscape. By reading its form and scale, the project uses a strategy to use its volumetric scale to obtain an adequate result for its integration into its site and urban context.

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