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Cultural Center for Children, Chamanga

Two-phase project by the Center for Public Interest Design, Portland State University and Tokyo University (phase 1) and Hohschule Müchen (phase 2).

The village of Chamanga at the coast of Ecuador was destroyed to 80% by an earthquake in Spring 2016. The reconstruction process is ongoing but slow. It unveils social, cultural  and economic weaknesses that existed before and are now very present. Specially the children and youth suffer under the bad economic, hygienic and social conditions. The effort of this studio is, to support the citizen of Chamanga in some small but useful interventions.


The Cultural Center for Children and Youth

Amongst many other problems, there is an urgent need for opportunities and space for children and youth to spend their time meaningful. Drugs are infiltrating and start to damage the social tissue. The task of this DesignBuild Studio is to develop a cultural centre in collaboration with the NGO “Opcion Más”, working for several years in Chamanga, teaching and recording music, practicing and performing art. Before the earthquake, they rented a space in the village. Now due to the disctruction, they are homeless. A building plot is bought by the organisation. An international team of Universities support the village of Chamanga in this crisis. The Centre for Public Interest Design from the Portland State University designed together with collegues from the Tokyo University a first phase of the cultural centre that was realized in September 2017. Our DesignBuild project joined the team in October and will design and realize the second step of this urgently needed space.

Images and Plans

Technical Description

The project is under developlent. In a two-phase jury, three alternative design schemes have ben developed by the team of architecture- and structural enginer students and will be revised by our ecuadorian collegues and the cooperative in Chamanga.


PHASE II : Hochschule München

Project description

The new cultural center is particularly striking because of it second skew structural shell. With its inviting gesture it surrounds the free space and draws all attention to the central main stage. The structure of the initial building is integrated by repeating the reinforced concrete frame. It is then perfectly reflected in its new opposite building.

The auditorium provides extra space in case of crowded events, as the frames by the entrance can be extended onto the open street. Additionally, a second floor will be added to provide space for a library, meeting point, and radio studio. On the ground floor the  radiostudio, a storage room, as well as a flexible room that can be used as a small stage, find their place.

The first floor is entirely built from bamboo. The fassade, as well as the foldable elements within the braided bamboo facade take care of consistent fresh air ventilation. The pent roof faces the yard and leaves a gap to further ventilate.

The space between the buildings gives in fact room for the heart piece of the project: Its auditorium and stage. The stage is 30cm high and passes with its width of 100 cm along the dance room, to accommodate seats as well. This elevation enforces this zone to be a meeting point.

The space on top of the new building is connected with a small bridge which can be used for install technics for the stage. The second floor of the new building is a low storay to use as a stand. Especially for children it is a nice separated playground.

The materials of brick, concrete and traditional bamboo create a pleasant and restful color image. It invites visitors and residents to dance, for music lessons or to just come by and meet nice people.


Phase I: Portland State University

In September 2017, Students from the PCentre for Public INterest Design under the directipn of Sergiopalleroni budesigne and buid the forts phase of the centre. They have ben supported by Mika Akari and Jun Sato for structural sytstem and Akiko Okabe and students from the Tokyo University. They finished the first set of rooms build in mansonry and concret framework.



Facade- testing

We had to develop a facade that permits the entry of light and air but keeps out the rain in this hot, humid and tropical zone and protects against burglary (without using glas as it will brake easily).

The students found a solution, using 20 cm bamboo-cuts, screwed togehter in a frame, lightly inclinde so that all above mentioned conditions are fulfilled!

They tested the feasibility in Germany in a lab and it seems that we can do it (about 50 m2).



CoCoon - contextual constructionTechnische Universität BerlinArchitecture, Landscape ArchitectureUrsula Hartig
Opción MásAlberto Lopez "Baltyn"
Funding, Logistics, Project Implementation, ResearchCenter for Public Interest Design
Sebastian Oviedo, Lorena Burbano (Local Expert)
Financial SupportSto-Stiftung
Financial SupportDeutsche Botschaft Ecuador


The plot has a dimension of 9 x 15 qm. The constructed and usable coverd space wil be about 120 qm.
Other BudgetTravel Costs: 50.000 Teaching faculty extra costs: 17.000 regular staff not included) Student voluntary work on building site: 20.000 (25€/ day- local honorary for unskilled workers)
Project Start:2017
Design Period3 Month (Phase 2)
Construction Period5 weeks (phase 2): 2 weeks (phase 1)
The content is liscensed under the following Creative Commons license.
Creative Commons Licence