Casa Entremuros

Al Borde

Published in Total Latin American Architecture.

Design team: Al Borde, David Barragán, Pascual Gangotena.
Collaborators: Estefanía Jácome, José Antonio Vivanco.
Technical advisor: Bolívar Romero, Rammed Earth Specialist.
Construction: Miguel Ramos.
Date: 2007-2008.
Location: Tumbaco, Quito, Ecuador.
Site Area: 50,000 s.q.
Built Area: 1,800 s.q.

The wish to set up, the search for living in harmony with nature, the need of autonomy for each one of the three members of the family, the low budget (understood as the optimization of resources and spaces) and the phrase: “There is always another way of doing things and another way for living”, settled by the family, were the starting point for the design.


Far from the pollution of the city, the house is set in the hillside of the Ilaló volcano in an indomitable land. Two streams opened to the landscape of the valley limit it. A cut in the sloping land helps to generate a platform for the project and also to get enough raw materials to build the gravity walls. The waving form as a result of this cut in the land, defines the position and order of every wall. The succession of these adobe walls and the different heights of the roof caused the division of the house even for the activity or the user. In order to get rid off the domino effect, the gravity walls break their parallelism solving the structure and strengthening the character (spirit) of every refuge. The furniture is worked inside the thick adobe walls. The long corridor is used as an element that isolates the project from their immediate neighbors and reinforces the autonomy of every space.


This architecture aims to highlight the nature of the material elements that compose it, promoting the aesthetic, formal, functional and structural qualities as well as the maximum respect of the environment. The harmonious relation between the nature and the architecture is very important for the owner and also a decisive fact for the design, constructive process and the operation of the house.


Following ancient customs, a ceremony is prepared to ask permission to the volcano. There, presents and the best auguries are buried creating an energetic center in the space that divides the social area from the private one. The house is cleaned of bad energies in the ceremony, and finally an offering is put into the energetic centre, which works as a meeting point between the users and the volcano.
The gray waters go to processing pools turning them into irrigating waters. A dry bath and a solar system to heat the water are designed. The wood and reed-grass have been cut in “good moon” to avoid the usage of chemical products for its treatment against plagues.


The land as a building material generates low impact in the projects environment. The raw material comes out of the cut generated in the sloping land. It does not produce rubble, stores heat and regulates the interior climate by having the capacity to absorb and eliminate dampness more rapidly and in a larger quantity than other materials.







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