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Big House, Otica (Community centre)

Asociación Semillas para el desarrollo sostenible

Rio Tambo, Peru

December 2019


Marta Maccaglia


Raúl Arancibia, Auriane Bonnault, Samanta Sinistri, Helmer Carrión, Emilio Santos Pérez, Carlos Barreda.




Eleazar Augusto Cuadros Choque


The objective of the project is to provide a multiple-purpose location for the inhabitants through a participatory process, and through the use and repurposing of local materials.
The building is located in a central point of the community, attached to the main square and the soccer field. The project consists of a multipurpose space and a module with kitchen, office and craft workshop.
The building consists of a strip foundation of stone and cement that rises from the ground to protect against flooding and at the same time works as a grandstand, opening up towards the exterior and towards the interior. This generates a space in the shape of a rectangular amphitheater. The portico structure made of wood supports a gabled roof of fiber cement sheets. This large roof protects from the sun and rain, guaranteeing environmental comfort, with constant ventilation and natural lighting. Two access plazas, equipped with a bench on its border and a native tree in the middle, indicate access to the local communal space. To the north, a concrete and brick module contains the kitchen, office and craft workshop, which unfolds on two levels. The materials are mostly local: The wood comes from the Otica forests, the stones from the nearby river and the clay bricks from the communities near Otica.
The architectural proposal is inspired by its surroundings and the space is like a large covered plaza that facilitates multiple uses such as meetings, parties and workshops.


The native community of Otica is located on the banks of the Tambo river in Peru’s central rainforest. This community has suffered displacement due to the internal armed conflict which took place in Peru from 1980 to 2000. It can be reached in 6 hours from Satipo the closest urban center. The territory where the project is located is characterized by rivers and large forest areas. The community consists of 180 families that live in a “survival economy” and live off income gained through the harvesting of wood.
The Project “Aytaro Pankotsi, community center” is a project of reconstructing a community and educational center. The project was initiated and completed by the community through a self-managed process.
The community previously relied on a local community center built in concrete, in part by the local government. Through research and the participatory workshops, it was determined that due to a lack of cultural presence, the use of external materials, and uncomfortable conditions inside the building, the center had been completely abandoned.
This is how the community center, or “Aytaro Pankotsi Big House”, was born. It is for the indigenous community of Ashaninka de Otica and was completed through participatory workshops and with the community’s full participation in construction. Currently, the space serves as a “catalyst”: a meeting and multipurpose space.


The “Aytaro Pankotsi, community centre” project has come to be used as a central “catalyst” for community meeting. Currently the building is used in different ways according to the day’s schedule.
The brick block on the north side of the building is used as accommodations for visitors and a center for artisanal production for the women of the community.
Various activities take place in the central amphitheater, such as: community assemblies, educational workshops, parades and parties.
The “Aytaro Pankotsi, community centre” is a point of reference in this area of the rainforest and currently receives more than 400 visitors per year from native communities in the central rainforest.
The construction of the building was carried out with the guidance of a master carpenter and support from the community. This process has transferred skills to the community and created a great sense of belonging. After two years of use the building has been expanded by the same community due to increased use and its importance to this rural area.

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