LafargeHolcim Foundation Knowledge Turntable for Sustainable Construction


An unconventional dream becomes a paradigm-shifting reality

Construction of the Acknowledgement winning urban remediation project in the historic center of Quito is well under way and on track for completion by the end of 2016. Not only is the dream of restoring the building fast becoming reality, the approach of Al Borde Arquitectos appeared in the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America at the Chicago Architectural Biennial.

The urban remediation project is based on restoring eight residences (totaling 400 square meters) in an abandoned building where tenants exchange their labor as a form of rent. More than half of the project has been completed, including the construction of an architectural office and refurbishment of three apartments. To finalize the restoration, three more residences will be completed in 2016. Due to the state of disrepair of the buildings, the remediation estimates the value of the residences has risen between 80 and 300 per cent, delivering significant benefit also to the property owner.

A14LAacEC-prog1601-09.jpg“Our dream of inhabiting an abandoned house that has been renewed by means of a non-conventional practice will soon be our reality,” explains David Barragán, one of five enthusiastic young architects that make up Al Borde. All were born in Quito and all are architecture graduates from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador.

David Barragán also commented that winning the Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize had created enormous visibility for the project, and the ongoing work of Al Borde. The competition provided welcome applause and finances, but also enhanced opportunities to share the project’s approach and successes with a growing community of interconnected practitioners.

The project and its approach to sustainable design is also featured in La Ville Rebelle: démocratiser le Projet Urbain = The Rebel City: How to Democratize Urban Planning (Gallimard Collection Manifesto, 2015).

A14LAacEC-prog1601-14.jpgChicago Architecture Biennial

Al Borde was one of forty international studios to be official participants in the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, considered the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America. The exhibition explores the inspiring work that a new generational of architects is producing in radically different cultural, social, and economic scenarios.

The architects invested a large proportion of their budget for the Chicago Architecture Biennial in continued work on completing the “Triplets” building that will form a flat or office. Over the course of the exhibition, regular updates on the project blog formed part of their display and maintained focus on utilizing available resources to achieve project realization:

House under Construction blog


Last Updated: January 13, 2016
Article Details
Quito, Ecuador
Related Information
LafargeHolcim Foundation