Research and innovation Project
March – April 2017
“I’m Daniela, I’m about to graduate in Architectural Design at Politecnico di Milano, I’ve just come back from Duran (Ecuador), where I spent some months in coordinating the building of the parish complex in the suburban neighbourhood Arbolito. The main aim of this experience was to provide new solutions for the design of the diocese of San Jacinto, for the building of the new church Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro. The Arbolito community is very poor, the houses are obsolete, built in different materials (different types of wood, concrete and steel) and without any logic in the design, with the sole purpose of protecting from atmospheric agents or security. As in all the developing countries, social discrepancy is huge and can be noticed in residential architecture: from the city of Guayaquil, the financial capital of Ecuador (just a few kilometres from the Arbolito neighbourhood), to Duran, among the four most populated cities in Ecuador, with different groups of people of different social classes, at the bottom of which we find suburban reality, among those that of the Arbolito, where the material used to build the house defines the social class (wood is the material which identifies poor families). The community is subjected to several problems, especially during rainy seasons, when roads are usually flooded and so are the houses, which are often built without foundations (wooden stilt houses are an exception, but they have still to face other kind of problems); moreover, the problems arise because of the high level of urbanisation, which causes the development of districts before the effective development of the network of roads.
Thanks to the skills I learnt during my educational career, it was easy to understand the architectural styles used in that context, and the big challenge was to adapt them to the architectural project: the main aim was to realise a space where the community could identify itself. The collaboration with SIT has changed me from the human point of view: a big change in terms of pace and culture, it has helped me adapt and it has given me a lot of energy so that now that I’m back to Italy I’m looking for a job where I may challenge myself, as I did in Ecuador.”