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D E S I G N I N G    F O R   U N C E R T A I N T Y

According to the World Bank, there are five key social development issues in Latin America and those are; inequality, women's rights, innovation, education, and public health. Local governments have addressed these issues focusing mostly in urban areas, where the number of inhabitants has increased during the years. The increasing population in cities is caused by various factors but is often due to rural populations migrating to urban areas. This population shift occurs because of the lack of industry and basic services in rural settings such as medical care and education.

The high demand for infrastructure and political interest pressures local governments to offer cities basic services by planning long-lasting solutions.  As cities begin to improve their services and offer a better quality of life for inhabitants, rural areas demonstrate the opposite. Local governments have addressed some of these rural issues, however, it is of low priority and on a smaller scale. As a result, several nongovernmental organizations step in to work on these social issues. Both nongovernmental and local governments face uncertain conditions when planning, such as climate change, socio-economic and political factors. Uncertainty forced most of these projects to explore temporary solutions. In rural areas, these solutions often focus on education, healthcare, and housing. The immediate effect of these temporary solutions might be beneficial for the community, but in the long term, it can create a different problem. These projects tend to follow a linear process by defining an end to the project. Over time these isolated solutions can contribute to larger problems when help leaves. For example, post-disaster immediate responses provide temporary infrastructure solutions that end up becoming permanent and increasing the community vulnerability towards disasters. A more efficient approach would be the idea of a cyclic process, which suggests constant work and periodic assessments. In this way, we can learn from our work and create a bigger impact. This project will follow a cyclic process with goals to improve and develop community skills and knowledge. In this way, development would not rely completely on others.  

Tapial is a proposition for a collaborative project that focuses on the rural development of three main social issues in Latin America: education, public health, and innovation. WHY TAPIAL? In the Andean Region, it is common to find dwellings made of earth, such as tapial or adobe, which are traditional techniques used prior to the arrival of the European colonies. Tapial has two meanings, the first is the name for the framework used to create a compacted earth wall, and second is the name of the wall itself. The objective of the project is to mimic the definition of Tapial, working as a metaphoric formwork that creates the opportunity to build knowledge within a community. The building is also designed to incorporate traditional techniques and materials, by the community, to create a sense of identity and ownership.



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I                                                                                                                                         F                                                                                                                                           J

Health - Allison Doe.
Allison is a Registered Nurse in Boston, with several years of practice in critical care. She has an interest in Public Health and has worked as a volunteer with the Maine Migrant Health Program, Chilean Red Cross, and Baca Ortiz Pediatric Hospital in Ecuador.
Education - Stephen Holzer
Stephen has  Master’s of Science in Education, Childhood General Education  with a minor in  Spanish. He  has  eight years  of diverse teaching  experience in the United  States and Ecuador, and is currently working at Bronx Community Charter School.
Innovation - Ernesto Carvajal  
Ernesto  is an architect currently working in Boston with a MSc in Sustainable Design from the University of Edinburgh. He  has  several  years of international experience in  Ecuador, Scotland, and  the United States. His projects range from furniture design to public infrastructure. He is in charge of the construction of the rammed earth wall prototype.


One of the main characteristics of earth dwellings is the thickness of the walls, which creates a solid and heavy condition for the exterior envelope. The design process took that idea of a grounded solid volume as the starting point, which will contain the main space for all the different activities. A secondary volume is added to the main one, and this one will serve the main space. This space contains a flexible space that can be used as an office or exhibition area, restroom, cleaning room, and storage. To accent, the entrance, a piece of the mass is subtracted from the whole volume suggesting movement towards the entrance. This area becomes the entrance and porch of the project and the way shadows hit the wall reinforces the idea of entry.



1200 sqf - 110 sqm



310 sqf - 29 sqm



155 sqf - 15 sqm

STRATEGY                                                                                                                    KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER



A. Entrance

B. Multipurpose Room

C. Exhibition / Office

D. Storage

E. Restroom

F. Cleaning Area / Storage







The main material for the project will be rammed earth walls, which has a low embodied energy and can be sourced locally. Roof structure, roofing, windows, and floors will depend on the availability within the area. It is common to find materials such as roof tiles, wood, and fiber cement along the Andean Region. The next image shows the different material options. 

L                                                                                M                                                                                                                       N                   

Regarding the building, the first step will be to build a rammed earth wall prototype. It will be built in Boston and Quito-Ecuador. The first prototype is under process to be built at Artisan's Asylum and the lessons learned will significantly improve the second one held in Quito, where the project will take place. The second prototype will be held in Quito early 2018 with the help of a structural engineer to improve the strength of the wall, and to continue the exploration of this material possibilities. 


PROTOTYPE AXO                                                                                        


BOSTON PROTOTYPE @ ARTISAN'S ASYLUM                             


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B.     Belize Outreach - Pharmacy and staff

C.     Belize Outreach  - Pharmacy 

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F.    "Rancho Argentino De Adobe." Pinterest. N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

G.   " N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

H.   "Http://Promociones.Blogger.Com." N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

I.    "File:Casa Colonial En Bahareque, Manzana 095, El Cerrito, Valle, Colombia 01.Jpg - Wikimedia Commons." N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

J.    "Casa Adobe." N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

L.    "Back To Basics: 7 Homes Built With Rammed Earth." Architizer. N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

M.   "Architecture." Pinterest. N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

N.   "Rammed Earth." Pinterest. N.p., 2017. Web. 25 Oct. 2017.

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