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Endemic House

EseColectivo Arquitectos

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador

August 2021


José de la Torre, Pablo Silva, Santiago Granda, María Belén Argudo



Daniel Fraga Blanco


José de la Torre


Since its colonization around 1950, the urbanization process of the Galapagos Islands has been accelerated and improvised, mainly due to rapid population growth and the absence of a local construction tradition that corresponds to its exceptional biodiverse context. The urban areas of the archipelago continue to grow under dynamics typical of cities on the continent, where the common denominator are constructions in concrete, steel, and other industrial materials.
In this context, The Endemic House is a project that seeks to promote and validate the use of local materials, workforce, and technologies as an alternative to the current situation. Although it is a small-scale project, a new housing proposal built with bamboo (the second known project of this type in San Cristobal Island) could be a reference to be replicated at the private level and, at a later stage, to be considered as a suitable technology for the future urban planning in the Islands.


In 2015, Dany and Jenny founded the first artisanal brewery on San Cristóbal Island, in Galapagos: La Cervecería Endémica. The proposal sought to be sustainable, natural, and local; as much as possible, considering the limitations of an Island (resources and energy supply, transportation, etc.). After four years of work and with the arrival of their first child, the couple decides to build the first house of their own on a plot of land located on the urban edge of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, one kilometer away from the coast. In the same way as in the brewery, they seek to build their home sustainable, local, and as sensitive as possible to the natural context of the Islands. The Endemic House, therefore, aims to be a simple, efficient house and prioritizes the use of local workforce and materials. The limited budget represents an important challenge in terms of management and logistics. Consequently, the work monitoring is carried out remotely, establishing a closer unusual relation between the clients, the local builder, and the architects in the continent.


The Endemic House is resolved through a bamboo (caña guadua) structure, which have been collected and treated in the Islands by a local builder. The project is divided in three levels, where the spaces are distributed around a wide core of stairs that function as a path leading to the view of the sea at the highest level, and as the axis of the bioclimatic performance of the project, through the chimney effect that allows the circulation of hot air. Towards the interior, most of the furniture, walls and divisions are resolved with bamboo or cedrela, a type of timber tree typical of the Galapagos Islands. In the same way, the external details of balconies, terraces and latticeworks are solved with cedrela and bamboo in different ways. Due to restrictions on imports of materials, the roofing and their corresponding insulation are resolved with industrial elements. Despite the availability of local materials and the fragile conditions of the Galapagos ecosystem, the Endemic House is the second project built with bamboo technology in San Cristóbal. In the urban areas of the Islands, most of the constructions are made of metal and concrete.

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