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The Lighthouse

Juan Alberto Andrade

Bahía de Caraquez, Ecuador

April 2018


Juan Alberto Andrade


Cuqui Rodríguez, María José Váscones


Cristina Lopez de Guillem


JAG Studio


Interest in the materials that make up the built environment:
As a main requirement, and an important part of the dissolution of the land, Cristina, as post-earthquake posture, wanted to avoid reinforced concrete, glass, and block masonry in its majority. The architectural project responds in a very strategic fashion to this situation: -Natural disasters do not exist, there are natural phenomena. Disasters are caused by man-

The resulting project is the integration of many overlapping variables as a starting point; an economically viable construction, accessible to those who, at almost 80 years old, try to build, from 0, their home.

The initiative started from a process of physical and social development through the
proposal of materials. The Caja de Luz for its composition, manifests urban vernacular traditions, using materials usually associated with underdevelopment, being contextually conscious, expressing the correspondence between the appearance and structural nature of the project.

It becomes a means of local social transformation. To this purpose, a light and flexible arrangement of structural wood was implemented, combining Moral, Mangle, Asta and Maria, under metal plates used as a fastening system, and wooden slab with laurel planks and chopped cane - plastered as masonry. Being a construction proposed in wood, we seek to explore this material from its structural aspect, insulating, light and easy to build.


Bahía de Caráquez is a small coastal city of approximately 20,000 inhabitants, which belongs to the Sucre county, Manabí province. Its tropical-humid temperature oscillates between 22 - 26 degrees Celsius. It's located in the northern section of the Ecuadorian coast, a region that is part of the Pacific fire belt and it’s characterized by the concentration of some of the most important subduction zones in the world, which causes intense seismic activity.

Cristina lost her home: this house was the center of her housing and commercial activities. Her economic income was based from the rent and the profits from the sale of clothing (house-commerce). After a long process of negotiation proposals, it was resolved to divide the irregular terrain into two portions of the same footage in the Ground Floor, and equal dimension in the façade, sharing a common staircase.

we are faced with a new terrain of form in form of -C-, with a front of 5.60m and 2.80m in its narrowest part. This new terrain maintains the same conditions as the general ground: backing on three sides, a single façade, heights determined by the municipality of the county and a non-existent language manual.

Cristina has 46m2 per floor (two floors). The project was divided into two independent housing units, being the Ground Floor for the primary user and the Upper Floor to supplant the economic income for rent. Both proposals are unipersonal, spaces to provide housing for a single person.


The construction process involved a high percentage of materials from the area and 100% of local labor. The construction lasted almost 4 months, months in which new words had to be added to the dictionary and, above all, contrast the knowledge acquired with the local academicism to speed up the processes and their communication.

Explore implications:

The opening of its single façade, fragmented by an exterior gallery, facing a wide street, allows us to incorporate the natural and built environment to the houses. To this end, it was worked to be used as a buffer zone that promotes, under safety regulations, the relationship between the interior and the exterior with the main street of the city.

It was created then, in its single facade, a dynamic and permeable, which promotes the entry of wind and light into its interior spaces; through an ornamental wall with traditional blocks on the ground floor, which works as a barrier and separates the interior with the exterior gallery, and re-interprets a new architectural form. And with the intention of promoting lightness, in the upper floor we worked with polycarbonate, a lightweight, non-sharp plastic material, divided into modulated panels.

The polycarbonate, structure and wooden floors carry a message much deeper than the lightness and light permeability, they constitute a plastic reference that represents a form of relationship with its urban environment through an invitation embodied in the material itself, a way to generate community.

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