Chamanga Cultural Center
Chamanga, Ecuador
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image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Category:
meeting place
Phase:
in use
Design:
Atarraya Taller de Arquitectura, DesignBuild Studio, Munich University of Applied Sciences, Opción Más, Portland State University
Updated:
15 September 2021
introduction
During the earthquake in April 2016, 80% of the buildings in Chamanga got severely damaged. The disaster worsened the social inequalities that already had 100% of the population below the poverty line. The cultural house, providing programs to strengthen local Afro-Ecuadorian and Montubio’s heritage in music, dance, and poetry, was also destroyed.

The cultural house managed by a local organization, Opción Más, has been running art & cultural programs for the community since 2009, strengthening social tissues and providing opportunities and support for at-risk youth.
The Core Team
The idea to rebuild the cultural center initiated by the local actors, such as Opción Más, was then supported by other Chamangueñx groups, Movimiento Mi Cometa, Atarraya Taller de Arquitectura, as well as different universities.

After the acquisition of the land by Opción Más, the project was organized into two main phases. The first phase was carried out as a Design-Build project with Portland State University, accompanied by the University of Tokyo. Whereas the second broader phase, was led by the Munich University of Applied Sciences. The design evolved through the feedback loops between local and external collaborators: An organic planning development process where students design, plan and build in collaboration with the local community, professionals, and professors.
Studio Chamanga Hochschule München

image: Studio Chamanga Hochschule München | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1

image: Portland State University | © all rights reserved
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materials and building techniques
To ensure a seismic-proof and socially relevant design, knowledge exchange between local traditions (local maestros and maestras) and modern techniques (academic design-research groups) was constantly taking place. The on-site, participatory research and decision-making have resulted in a design in harmony with its context while standing out due to its different scale and contemporary use of traditional building systems.

The design consists of two parallel volumes, each made of two floors, placed on the sides of a double-height atrium that can be opened to the public during broader events, immersing itself in the surrounding environment. While the first floor is built in bricks and reinforced concrete to ensure structural security, the second floor is framed in local bamboo and wood, keeping the space naturally lit and ventilated. 

Recycled Tetra Pak sheets were used for the roofing, improving the indoor acoustic and thermal conditions. Moreover, responding to the sanitation crisis and access to water, the cultural center provides tanks to harvest rainwater as well as access to dry toilet systems.
Construction process of the Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Sebastian Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Construction process of the Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Sebastian Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Construction process of the Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Sebastian Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Impact
The process of design and construction aimed to strengthen the pre-existing social tissues and organizing capacities. This empowerment is an added social value to the whole project. Today, Chamanga cultural center is a space for youth to discover and do something meaningfully with their peers. In addition,” existing community initiatives were strengthened, and new ones started to happen since the construction of the cultural center.” says Sebastian, one of the leading architects of Atarraya Taller de Arquitectura.

The Chamanga Cultural Center supports Opción Más and other local actors in their efforts to provide leisure and cultural opportunities while advancing broader social agendas through neighborhood assemblies, filmmaking, marimba, and mangrove-ecosystem preservation workshops. A space where traditional building systems are re-presented, it welcomes the activities of young and adult Chamangueñx organizations who mobilize to connect with their cultural roots and transform local conditions.
Opening ceromony

image: Sebastian Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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image gallery
Centro Cultural Chamanga

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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Chamanga Cultural Center

image: Santiago Oviedo | © all rights reserved
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technical drawings
Site plan

image: atarraya taller arquitectura | © all rights reserved
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Plan

image: atarraya taller arquitectura | © all rights reserved
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Plan

image: atarraya taller arquitectura | © all rights reserved
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section

image: atarraya taller arquitectura | © all rights reserved
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section

image: atarraya taller arquitectura | © all rights reserved
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Location
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Keyword:
bamboo (57)
community (102)
earthquake (19)
empowerment (50)
student participation (43)
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