The Ballesteros-Parra family are a local campesino family who have lived in Barichara their entire lives. Both Marta and Roberto, the parents, work in farms near by. Marta has worked in the farm for the last 13 years, while Roberto, who normally worked in construction, began working at the farm 3 years ago. 

Marta and Roberto have five children:

  • Patricia is the oldest. She is 25 years old, Works part-time in Barichara and has a daughter who is now 4.
  • Diana is the second child. She is now 23 years old and studies criminology in a town near Barichara
  • Jose Alberto, the first son, is 20 years old. He is currently serving in the army and has previously worked on construction.
  • Leidy, who is in her last year of high school, is 18 years old. Aside from being a student, she also works in the town.
  • Carlos is the youngest of the children. He is 7 years old and is currently in first grade.

Recently, the family was able to acquire a 1.8 acre lot in an area called the ‘Vereda el Caucho’. For the past three years they have been slowly acquiring various materials to build their house.

We are truly honored as the Ballesteros-Parra familia is offering BUILDING LOCAL the opportunity to help build their house, while also using it as space for learning and experimentation with local construction techniques.


Maria Carrizosa: Maria is a licensed architect in Colombia and holds an undegraduate degree in architecture from Universidad de Los Andes and a dual Master’s degree in Architecture, and City and Regional Planning (Housing and Community Development) from UC Berkeley. Her design practice in Colombia ranges from institutional to housing projects, developing two award-winning projects for a public library and a music school in rural communities. She has been involved in architectural education in both Colombia and the US and continues her participation as a guest juror in the College of Environmental Design and as an Adjunct Professor at the Diablo Valley Community College. Maria is interested in collaborative practices in both architecture and planning to provide communities with the necessary tools to improve and shape the spaces they live in.

Ana Maria Gutierrez: Ana Maria is the co-funder of Organizmo, an organization that promotes the principles of permaculture, bio-architecture and the implementation of intuitive technologies.  She holds a BFA in Architectural Design from the Parsons School of Design and Master in Interactive Telecomunication ITP from New York University. Aside from being an organizer, Ana Maria will be one of the workshop lecturers, focusing her talks on sustainable building systems (green roofs and green walls).              

Adriana Navarro: Adriana holds a dual Master’s degree in Architecture, and City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley. Born and raised in Colombia (S.A), she received a BS Arch from the University of Virginia in 2004. After working for Rafael Viñoly Architects, and OPX Global in Washington DC, Adriana moved to California to begin her graduate studies in 2007. As a 2010 John K. Branner Fellow, Adriana traveled the world, focusing her research, FAVELA CHIC, on socio-cultural aspects of design, particularly analyzing the role and relationship between architecture, planning and urban informality. Adriana is founder of the blog FAVELissues.


Ronald Rael is an architect, author, and Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Rael’s research examines the convergence of digital, industrial, and non-industrial approaches to making architecture. He was the recipient of a Graham Foundation Grant for “Constructed Topographies: Earth Architecture in the Landscape of Modernity”; winner of the Architectural League of New York’s Deborah Norden Competition for “Wadi Hadramut: Cities of Earth”; and is author of Earth Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), which examines the contemporary history of the oldest and most widely used building material on the planet—dirt.

His practice, Rael San Fratello Architects, with Virginia San Fratello, works at the intersection of architecture, art, culture, and environment, has won numerous awards for their projects, including a First Place award in the SECCA Home/House Competition for HAY HOUSE, a seasonal response to agrarian production; a Metropolis Next Generation Prize for the Hydro Wall, an advanced thermal wall building enclosure; and a Design Award from International Design Magazine in the Graphic Design Category for their 50th Annual Design Review for Rael’s design for the cover of PRAXIS 6 among others.

See more: Earth Architecture Blog                                                                                                                                                           

Jairo Delgado-Lerzundy is a licensed architect in both the US and Colombia with over 33 years of experience. His projects range from residential to institutional; the adaptive-reuse project for the Savannah College of Art and Design {SCAD}’s Student Center, a former church, being a clear example of his work. He has extensive experience with earth architecture as his strong emotional attachment to Barichara, his father’s birth place, has lead Jairo to build multiple projects in the surrounding area and make remarkable contributions to the town. One notable example is the ‘Parque de las Artes Jorge Delgado Sierra,’ which Jairo designed, built and donated to the community of Barichara. Jairo is also the founder and organizer of the ‘Stone Sculpture Festival.’

Camilo Holguín  is a licensed architect from Colombia, with over nine years of experience on earth architecture and construction. He received his architecture degree from the University of los Andes in Bogotá, and has focused his work on sustainable design. He has been a lecturer for various national and international congresses, and his work has been published in multiple Colombian and International journals. Along with his team, Camilo has received three nominations for ‘best project’ in the Colombian Architecture Biennale.

Andrés Rubio 
is a licensed architect in Colombia. He studied architecture at the Javeriana University in Bogotá. Andres has over seven years of experience working on earth architecture designs and constructions. His work focuses on eco-friendly design using bioclimatic elements, traditional construction techniques, adaptive reuse, and sustainable water management systems, amongst others. His projects have been published in various architecture journals and he has participated in the Colombian Architecture Biennale for ‘best design’ and ‘best heritage intervention’.

Ramón Aguirre is a registered architect in Mexico with over 18 years of experience in research and construction of earth architecture. His work focuses on typologies termed as  “Mexican Vaults.” He is a member of the Proterra Organization, and has both lectured and directed workshops in Mexico, Cuba Argentina, Spain, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Colombia amongst others.

Hernando Hincapié has focused his work on permaculture, studying and implementing sustainable building systems such as biodigestors, water filtration, recycling and treatment, amongst others. He also has extensive knowledge on bamboo construction. Hernán leads an organization called la Pequeña Granja de Mamá Lulú,’ where he holds multiple workshops on permaculture design and construction.

ORGANIZMO  is an organization that promotes the principles of permaculture, bio-architecture and the implementation of intuitive technologies, contributing to community empowerment through the knowledge and local resources and through the facilitation of a spaces that makes possible the implementation and technology transfer, education and advocacy groups from life experiences and the assessment of sustainable systems.

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