Re-assessing the architectural design challenge.

On Wednesday February 26th, the team were searching more info about the design possibilities that are going to be required for “la casita” complex. The research info on several subjects where discussed including the sustainable clay fridge, the stove, the melipona beecheii honey production project, the bird watching, also more data in statistics and governance on Calakmul.

Between these advances, the architect Rogelio went to the class session to explain his past experience on “El 20” and he discussed his ideas to Ricardo, one of the architects that are going to be involved in the design who will team-up directly with Petra, Silvia, Alejandro, Mariana, Ruben and Laura for the kitchen and dining design. And they discussed the following situations:

  • The construction systems known by the work force (Daniel and company), materials and the technology solutions available on “El 20” are going to determine the grid spacing and distribution.
  • Along the discussion a of how the roof design and construction should be remains to be defined because: the possible solutions (truss, arch, etc.) and considering the axis between columns is considerably like 5 to 6m; the involving materials that are already on previous built stages like half “guano” and half metal roofing system and zapote timber (Manilkara zapota). Slopes are still a key clue to search in order to work properly for solar panels and rainwater drainage, and still be a contemporary mayan roofing by design.
  • Also the previous construction solutions on “la casita” that were applied in the construction process. How the foundation and walls were made and the materials were used.
  • The sun position, prevailing winds and the bio-climatic design in the façades will determine the functionality of the fridge and the stove.
  • The materials, other arts and crafts in the community have to be included to express the best of the community towards visitors.
  • The kitchen and dining has to provide service to the elementary school in “el 20” with approximately 50 children, tourist visitors and other adults as well. Where the work service is divided between 3 or 4 women on kitchen. And diversity and adaptability of furniture has to solve accommodation of different type of users. And finally time and schedules of the elementary school.
  • The site and building relations to its immediate context. And the primary observations are that in general, “la casita” complex should be a building where social cohesion takes place where the community of “El 2o” should be very involved and committed to its maintenance and operation. It’s where the kitchen and dining have to be spaces for social interactions, learning spaces for the community to cook and maintain it’s gastronomic traditions for children and adults. Also striving to it’s own community to find and redefine its cultural heritage. Even the relationship between the kitchen and dining has to encourage affectionate and warmth interactions that usually are taken place in family’s kitchens, so it has to be on of the main reflections of the community’s culture so this could be one of the most memorable moments of children and visitors.
  • What is left to do for research is the interactions so that the women who will run these spaces have the best teamwork supported by the spatial conditions in order to provide and take care of the children and visitors. And the team has not to forget the traditions and culture involved cooking and nurture.
  • What other problems on the complex are the central rainwater collector basin didn’t work because the collected water not only became hard water, but also a significant amount of water was lost by filtration to underground and the remaining water was ground zero for mosquito borne diseases. (Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya)

That’s where design challenge of “la casita” complex has to be re-assessed in order to improve the ways of living of “El 20”. There’s a lot left to do for research, to discuss and to put design into action.

By Ricardo

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