Environmental Science Lab

Students and faculties from five academic institutions in Chile, Germany and Ecuador collaborating with an Ecuadorian community on the design and construction under sustainable and inclusive aspects of an educational space for rural secondary school students on the PUCESI Campus in Ibarra. Key objective was to test and establish a practical generic model that is suitable for informal self-build and can be reproduced by the local community.

The precise and almost choreographic design of the different stages and actors of the project aims not just to provide essential infrastructure to the community but also to learn from their traditional building techniques. The cooperative co-design process considered an open matrix to reconcile the international mixed and re-mixed teams of students, faculties and collaborators, their interests and learning. The construction process had to be executed in a short period so that all students could learning the largest possible number of different works from the entire construction process during their stay on site.

In an exploratory survey applied to participants most respondents reported an increase in their academic and practical knowledge in construction, as well as in architectural skills, self-confidence and personal skills.

Technical Description

While the (1) foundation work phase was the most physically demanding of all (as it involved excavating the ground, moving and laying stone and gravel, bending rebar and pouring concrete), with the largest number of students on site at the same time, the modular design of the building allowed for simultaneous work in different trades: (2) The earthen walls included two construction methods: adobe brick and rammed earth, (3) composite pillars and roof beams of the wooden structure were pre-cut in the workshop so that they only had to be positioned and assembled on site, (4) the roofing system from residual items include an organic insulation layer made of rice straw and (5) the window enclosures were prefabricated in the iron workshop using self-made steel frames. Finally (6) the finishings all surfaces were treated, painted or polished, water and sewage piping and a solar energy system was built.


PUCESI Ibarra, PUCE Quito, PUC Santiago Chile, TU Berlin, HS Wismar
Architect Jorge Andrade Benítez


(PUCESI) Stefan Alcívar, Stefany Armas, Eva Armas, Adamary Benavides, Sebastián Camacás, Christian Espín, Sebastián Félix, Leonardo Lugo, Ashly Mera, Alexis Morales, David Muñoz, Mikaela Paredes, Pablo Pérez, Fernando Pineda, Marisol Rivadeneira, Mishell Vaca, Anderson Vaca, (PUCE) Mateo Atarihuana, Camila Cando, Isaac Flores, Doménica Monteros, Alejandro Montoya, Nathaly Reina, Daniela Sono, Ivonne Toaquiza, María Vera, (PUC) Sofia Bravo, Germán Campos, Allan Cruz, Melisa Hamilton, Fabiola Irrazabal, Fernanda Martin, Fernando Aguirre, Felipe Ibacache, Felipe Muñoz, Mauricio Pérez, Constanza Pezoa, Beatriz Pinto, Estefania Roa, Lucas Silva, Sophia Slater, Thiare Villagra, (TUB) Luisa Fiedler, Anna-Sophie Heimes, Alexey Kotegov, Rosa Pulido, Darlyn Richter, Marco Schneider, Leonhard Ruchholtz, Alina Molavi, (HSW) Anabel Amaro Dolguij, Saleh Asadzadehhalilou, Talal Bin Asghar, Juan Fernando Gimenez, Liam Hayward-Mills, Christian Roberto Moreno, Diansan Pak, Karim Ali Samnani, Kemmachat Sermsukcharoenchai, Masoud Zare Dastgerdi
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Collaborating Organisations
Project Implementation
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Ibarra (PUCESI)
Project Implementation
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito (PUCE)
Project Implementation
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago (PUC)
Project Implementation
Technische Universität Berlin, Germany (TUB)
Project Implementation
Hochschule Wismar, Germany (HSW)
Project Implementation
Ministerio de Educación MINEDUC (Ministry of Education) Program Vinculación con la Sociedad (outreach programs, destined to provide an educational space for secondary rural students at universities). María Belén Espín Acosta, Directora distrita
Architect Jorge Andrade Benítez ( Project Implementation Research Teaching )
Dr. Lorena Valdivia Steel ( Project Implementation Research Teaching )
Jacob vanRijs ( Research Teaching )
Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Jan Blieske ( Project Implementation Research Teaching )
Architect Monica Gabriela Naranjo Serrano ( Project Implementation Research Teaching )
Ruben Jodar ( Project Implementation Research Teaching )
Assist. Prof. Franziska Wollscheid TUB ( Project Implementation Research Teaching )
Assist. Prof. Samuel Bravo PUC ( Project Implementation Teaching )
Assist. Prof. Esperanza Muñoz PUCESI ( Project Implementation Teaching )
Prof. David Álvarez (Structure, constructions PUCESI) ( Project Implementation )
Prof. Alfonso Rondón (Architecture, Urbanism PUCESI) ( Project Implementation )
Prof. Rosalba Ulloa (Architecture, technical installations PUCESI) ( Project Implementation )
Prof. Hellen Izquierdo (Architecture, Project Management PUCESI) ( Logistics )
Marcelo Benítez (Administration, budgets PUCESI) ( Funding )
Teresa Pavón (Acquisitions PUCESI) ( Logistics )
Structural Calculation: Ing. Patricio Cevallos ( Project Implementation Research Teaching )
Sanitary and Electrical Installation: EMAPA, Planta Física PUCESI ( Project Implementation )
Solar panels and batteries: NORSOLAR ( Project Implementation )
Construction workers: Marco Amaguaña, Marco Chantera, Nelson Chantera, Reinaldo Quilca ( Project Implementation )
Budget, Infrastructure
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador

Academic Discipline(s)
66 Students
Lichting Design
2 Students
Landscape Architecture
9 Students
Academic Level(s)
Bachelor and Master
Academic Facts

Site / Structure Dimension
Plot area: 1,24 hás
Built area: 170 m2
0 €
0 €
In Kind
- Rice Fiber Insulation BIOM
- recycled Kutérmico top sheet
Other Budget
Total Budget: US 235/m2
Project Start
Jan 2022
Length of Preparation Phase
Jan - Jul 2022
Length of Planning/ Design Phase
Sep 2022 - Jan 2023
Length of Construction Phase
Feb - Sep 2023
Additional comments
- Start: Jan 2022
- Preliminary workshop Typology TUB: Mar - Jul 2022
- Parallel regular design studios with mixed teams PUCESI-PUCE-PUC-TUB-HSW: Sep 2022 - Jan 2023
- On-site construction PUCESI-PUCE-PUC-TUB-HSW: Feb - Apr 2023
- Completion Phase PUCE-PUCESI: May - Sep 2023
- Inauguration: Oct 2023
- Project Review workshop TUB: Apr - Jul 2023
Project Context
Care / Education | Community / Culture
Construction Methods/Techniques