käpäcläjui indigenous training center
Entre Nos Atelier
Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica
The project underpins communal, private and governmental initiatives to operate upon a remote rural indigenous territory, promoting cultural exchange, integration and local empowerment. Based on participatory design processes within the community, the project seeks to shelter communal facilities due to the lack of adequate infrastructure for locals and visitors. The project is being fully used as a communal lodge, library, media-lab and capacitation center, inside a sustainable environmental design lightweight wooden structure over stilts.
The project's vision arises from a series of participatory design workshops with the community and subsequent validation of the proposals. These workshops were crucial for promoting a sense of ownership in the community when viewing and making decisions. It was the opportunity to understand and ‘co-create’ areas coherent with the environment and focusing on
the user's needs. The opportunities and design findings were multiple, from the qualities that define a comfortable, permeable space, ventilated, in direct contact with the environment and incorporating green areas and gardens. Moreover, the materiality was also decisive and was discussed widely, appreciating a light and open ‘shelter’, adding steep slopes arising from the tissues of suits, high spaces and local elucidations of the functional. During these design processes, Entre Nos Atelier facilitated the coordination among the different interests and served as partners of architectural ideas interpreted by the users. The technical coordination construction experts (XYLO group) were also relevant, and their extensive experience with the selected material (wood) to optimize and explore beneficial technical-constructive criteria for the project. The experience in the design phase and during construction is internalized as the constant opportunity for awareness of the surroundings. This process is further promoted by the consent and availability of the project team to positively impact the community and consequent architectural identity of the project.
The Käpäcläjui Indigenous Capacitation Center by Entre Nos Atelier exemplifies New Wood Open Architecture incorporating meaningful participation to create an adaptive and resilient structure for which the surrounding community can identify with and be proud. The scope of services for Entre Nos Architects extended far beyond simply providing design and construction management services for the project. During the earliest stages of the project’s development, they facilitated design workshops with the surrounding community to gain insight into the needs and desires of its members. The role of the architect shifts from being the authoritarian expert towards one of a facilitator in which collecting, synthesizing and representing the architectural needs highlighted during these design workshops become essential. The resulting structure is a direct result of these needs, and community members can personally identify with the project's process from design to construction and, finally, occupancy. Wood is used as the primary structure for which these ideas are materialized. The ordered primary and secondary wood members work together to create a clear spanning structure that allows for a wide variety of uses. These uses will inevitably change along with the social, cultural and economic interests of its current community. The architecture remains resilient and will continue to meet these needs through effortless plan reorganization, expansion or contraction.