About the Workshop

BUILDING LOCAL :: EARTH, Barichara, Colombia (2012)

The Design:

Students will design and build a farmhouse for a family of six (6): parents Marta and Roberto, and children Diana, Leidy, Jose and Carlos, are local campesinos that currently work in the agricultural and service sectors. The children, while all enrolled in school, also work in Barichara in restaurants and houses of new-comers.

The design should explore the aesthetic, assembly and tectonic qualities of local materials and offer innovative and sustainable solutions for energy and water use.

In addition, the farmhouse design will accommodate different faces for its construction; the workshop will culminate with the first phase construction of the project. The proposal should addres the following questions:

  • How must programmatic needs evolve in order to respond to new economical trends?
  • How can the new farmhouse offer local campesinos an opportunity to benefit from tourism?
  • How can the farmhouse become a catalyst for sustainable practices in the area?
  • What kind of sustainable technologies can be implemented to deal with water and energy provision?

Programmatic Needs:

The family’s property is located in the ‘Vereda el Caucho’, between the towns of Barichara and Villanueva.  It is a 1.8 acre lot where they cultivate yuca, beans and fruits  and raise  chickens,  one cow and  ‘camuros’ (from the sheep family).

  • Sleep: 1 Master bedroom, 2 bed rooms for the children (boys/girls)
  • Cook+ Eat
  • Work
  • Laundry
  • WC
  • Live+ Study
  • Grow + Harvest
  • Nurture + Care: space for raising and maintaining animals (chickens and ‘camuros’)

Material Exploration:


  • Rammed earth,
  • Mud Brick
  • Compressed Earth Block
  • Bahareque,
  • Recycled materials,
  • Fique fibers,
  • Wood
  •  Bamboo.

Sustainable technologies to develop+explore:

  • Water Collection
  • Water Filtration
  • Water Reuse
  • Landscape Water Management and Drainage
  • Landscape Recuperation
  • Energy Production



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