Bamboo chapels

Location: Rural communities around the city of Jama (Community of Camarones and Community of Santo Tomás)

Chapels dimensions: 9×15 m

Year: January- June 2017

After being able to buy and install the thirty five Alpinter Red shelter tents and the three 24m2 multipurpose tents for community activities, we still had some funds available from the donations to design and build a long term project.

Working together with the Parish church of Jama, quite naturally we came across the decision of rebuilding some of the chapels severely affected by the earthquake.

This project was possible thanks to the support of a nonprofit organization “Cáritas La Primavera” of Quito. Together with them we were able to co-finance the project in which they also contributed by providing volunteers for the construction phase of the project.

We decided to build two chapels in different rural communities nearby Jama, the main city in the area. Local communities requested us to design a building made out of local bamboo (caña guadua) since most of the structures that were made out of this material subsisted the earthquake. It was a big challenge for us but a great opportunity to work with a new material for us, but at the same time we were able to research and learn about this fascinating material.

Latitude- Longitude Architecture put together a group of architects and engineers that worked pro bono in the project and that later acted as volunteers during the construction phase. (Federica Amidei, Áron Ávár, Lilla Kántor, Pedro Ospina and Lorena Vasco).

Our goal was to design a prototype chapel that we could use in both communities. We designed a public building that would also serve as a meeting place for the community and a roofed gathering space.

The overall area of the chapel is 135 sqm, and the core volume, the sacred space, is a square of 6×6 m delimitated by a permeable wall woven with bamboo strips. The main door can open completely to integrate a larger audience during special celebrations creating a cozy space in symbiotic relation with the nature and its environment.