The homes of some 81 families have been reconstructed following the devastating earthquake of June 2005. The approach addressed the constraints of a limited budget and urgency of the community, while improving traditional adobe building systems. The June 2005 earthquake destroyed most of the village of San Lorenzo in the arid northern province of Tarapacá, Chile. Re-construction was carried out between 2006 and 2008.
Since the town is located in a cultural heritage zone protected by the Chilean National Monument Council, reconstruction needed to reflect the patrimonial style and retain the traditional construction systems of the villages.
The earthquake had collapsed adobe buildings of masonry, stone, concrete block and mud mortar, and its impact had been exacerbated by neglected maintenance of housing structures, fatigued materials due to age and deficient construction techniques. Adobe masonry had been treated as if it possessed the structural properties of (stronger) masonry block, poor soils had undermined foundations and were unable to bear the weight of stone structures.
The traditional adobe homes were replaced by 81 low-cost structures that were fast to build and used local materials. The structures were fabricated from a simple metal frame construction with cement block walls, giving support to the quincha façades made of wood and clay (debris). Each family defined the layout and dimensions of their house according to their specific needs.
The project recovered housing construction systems that are sustainable, efficient, strong and durable – allowing reconstruction with dignity and respect for local heritage. The approach addressed the constraints of a limited budget, urgency of the community while improving traditional adobe building systems.
Accolades and transferability
The project received the first Gubbio Prize awarded in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2009. The prize promotes the diffusion of theoretical advances and best practice in the field of heritage protection and urban renewal. The post-earthquake reconstruction project also received funding from the Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Regional (FNDR) to produce an educational book that detailed the approach used to (re-)build identity in the community. The reconstruction has also been featured in articles in D+A Magazine (Diseño + Arquitectura Latinoamerica) and T y C Magazine (Tecnología y Construcción).See more
A post-earthquake reconstruction at San Lorenzo of Tarapacá, Chile received one of six Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prizes for Latin America.Media release – Holcim Awards honor sustainable construction in Latin America » más información (Spanish) » leia mais (Portuguese) »
This project is about the reconstruction of an earthquake-devastated community in the Tarapacá area of Chile. The traditional adobe homes had to be replaced by inexpensive houses, meeting the requirements of the harsh climate and satisfying the social needs of the inhabitants whose homes had been destroyed.
In addition they had to be easy and fast to build by the local population with local materials. The result is a simple metal frame construction with cement block walls, giving support to the quincha façades made of wood and clay (debris). The roofs are also made of clay. Each family had the opportunity to deﬁne the overall dimensions and the number and size of the rooms according to their speciﬁc needs.
The carefully-chosen design answers to different situations, ﬁlls the gap between old and new and recovers the image of the traditional home of this area by using the traditional typology. The project has been commended due to this sensitive approach in a very painful post-earthquake situation.See more
The villagers of San Lorenzo fell victim to an earthquake – the Post-earthquake reconstruction project aims to rebuild their lives. The homes need to protect against the harsh climate, be resistant to future shocks, and quick and simple to build using local materials. Families are involved in designing their own houses to meet their own social needs.Download project entry poster (PDF, 2.64 MB) »
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