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2018 MCHAP.emerge

Patch House

ese colectivo arquitectos

Quito, Ecuador

August 2016


Pablo Javier Silva Guerrero Maria Belen Argudo Rojas Santiago Fernando Granda Jaramillo Jose Eduardo De la Torre Renteria


Alborde arquitectos (Design and management advisor) Patrico Cevallos Salas ( Structural engineer)


Angela Joyce Padilla Dickey


Lorena Darquea Schettini


After considering the amount of earth that needed to be cleared to build the house on the sloped terrain, we decided to take the not throwing anything away condition as the core concept for the design. Thus, the removed earth was reused for the main structure. Complementary wooden columns and beams complete the structure of the house where the program demanded an open connection to nature; and the rest of the materials the client brought from the old house were reused in the form of a patchwork design. Following the structural logic of rammed earth technology, the entire house was planned with two blocks of “C” shape mud walls. The first block is a private space for the client where the quilting studio, the main bedroom, and the laundry/pet room are located. These areas allow the owner to withdraw into her own space even when the house is full of people. This entire side of the house opens out to a private garden through a collage of recycled windows. In the second block, three guest rooms for each of the client’s children are laid out as small yet complete spaces in which to rest. The large open living space is located between the mud walls blocks and constitutes the central and most important space in the house. This area draws one towards the outside view and recreational area where family activities are closely related to nature. The inside walls of the house are painted white so that the patchwork wall hangings can stand out.


The project started with one single condition: to not throw anything away. Patchwork and Quilting are more than the client´s job. They are a lifestyle, where recycling and giving a new purpose to things are part of daily life. When she decided to leave her old house in the city for a quieter and calmer environment, she took as much as she could with her, including a variety of doors, cabinets and windows to pieces of furniture and loose materials. Thus, the Patch house had to follow the same logic and fit the repurposing logic: that is, to incorporate the recycled materials in the new project as patches. The project also had to balance two different programs. In the first place, it had to provide the necessary space for quilting, patchwork and daily work. On the other hand, it had to be become the larger home and gathering place for the frequent family get-togethers. Finally, the house had to be designed to have the minimum carbon footprint possible. The use of local materials and labor where considered would ensure energy performance and construction efficiency. By taking advantage of the site’s existing slope and vegetation the house was designed to create the connection to nature the client was looking for. The orientation of the house, the rain and gray water treatment, the management of irrigation water and the use of solar energy were thought out from the very beginning to create a consistent design proposal.


Rammed earth technology provides multiple benefits: by using a material found in the same site of the house and a technology known by the local labor force, the footprint of the building was highly reduced. Mud walls also serve as a passive climate control element due to their thermal mass properties and also provide the necessary soundproofing conditions needed to separate the private areas of the program from the living spaces where the family meetings take place. The orientation of the house takes advantage of the views, vegetation, daylight and solar gain. The east façade is protected by the vegetation preserved in the site, which serves as a passive filter that provides soft, indirect lighting for the quilting studio. The west façade absorbs the sun of the afternoon and stores it for the night to keep the bedrooms warm; on the other hand, the north and south façade are open to the views on the living space taking advantage of the equatorial solar path. The pool is heated with solar heating panels located in the roof and all the rain and gray water are collected and discharged through artificial wetlands, to be used as irrigation water. The result is a house with a strong connection to the site’s natural conditions, were each part of the program is laid out in such a way it performs in the most efficient way possible, providing the quality spaces needed to work, rest and gather together as a family.

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