Ecuador Workshop

Course Info

Course Number/Code: 4.17 (Fall 2006)
Course Title: Ecuador Workshop
Course Level: Undergraduate / Graduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
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Department: Architecture
Course Instructor(s): Prof. Jan Wampler
Course Introduction:
Syllabus

This is a project to assist in the design, drawing, modeling and hopefully constructing of a small Community Children's Center near Guayaquil, Ecuador. For the last year, Nicki Lehrer, from MIT's Aero/Astro Department, has been organizing efforts to build the project. She has information about the site, program, and needs of people and is raising funds for the construction.

The intention is to design a building that would help the children of the community by providing a nursery, library, community room, kitchen and rooms for volunteers that might help run the program. As it is now, the children have very little to occupy their time after a certain age.

The site has been chosen and is 600 square meters in the middle of a very low-income village. There is electricity and water but no sewage system in the area. Materials must be inexpensive and local including bamboo, concrete, blocks and clay tiles.

The work consists of understanding the area, with the help of Nicki, assisting in the design, and then the production of drawings and models that can both help raise funds and also provide the design for final drawings to be produced by engineers in Ecuador. As much as possible the design should be sustainable by providing electricity through solar panels and water through rainwater collection.

The intention is to start construction as soon as possible, but will most likely start in the summer of 2007. The hope is to travel there at that time to help in the construction. Living costs are very inexpensive in the area.

The workshop is primarily for senior undergraduates, although graduates will also be considered. Enrollment is limited to 4 or 5 for the semester; however, more could be enlisted for the construction.

The workshop was featured in the March 2007 issue of the Department of Undergraduate Education News. (PDF)