Manta-Manaus Lab

Research zone (aprox. 50,000 ha)

Providencia 0.0: Zero deforestation masterplan. Roberta Naveda, Mateo Naranjo (M-ML I)

Providencia 0.0: Forest edge conservation typologies. Roberta Naveda, Mateo Naranjo (M-ML I)

Productive biodiversity, Agroecological finca strategies. Ottmar Cerón, Sebastián Lucero (M-ML II)

Adding value: Adaptable bio-industrial workshops. Luis Santillán (M-ML III)

Microenterprise network, design between 1:100 and 1:50,000. Luis Felipe Flores (M-ML III)

On-site research: Nueva Vida (photo: G. Moyer-Perez)

On-site research: Yasuní National Park (photo G. Moyer-Perez)

On-site research: Yasuní National Park (photo G. Moyer-Perez)

PUCE studio reviews (photo G. Moyer-Perez)

Amazonía café, gris y verde exhibit at PUCE

Research and Design Platform for the Amazon

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE)

Jan 2012 – May 2013

The Manta-Manaos Lab was an academic research and design program comprised of three advanced design studios at PUCE’s School of Architecture, Design and Arts. It focused on the zone of influence of the new transfer port being proposed by Ecuador’s government for Providencia, in the northern bank of the Napo River and part of the Manta-Manaos inter-oceanic corridor initiative. The environmentally sensitive location of this project several challenges for students, as they would have to move beyond the disciplinary boundaries of architecture to deal with economic, ecological, political and social topics in a multi-scalar approach.

Design proposals ranged from regional planning strategies to a close understanding of domestic and productive spaces in the Amazon. An important feature of working in the Amazon is that urban, agricultural and forest area are all interconnected and need to be thought of in that way, which is something that doesn’t generally occur in practice. In this regard, the architect’s space of action is not limited to where the city footprint ends. It needs to include nature and all its environmental, social and economic complexities. Negotiation between different, an often opposing local and global agendas for what “development” means in the Amazon, architects need to confront contradictions and debates that go far beyond the design of physical space. During the program, students faced the diverse realities of these region during visits to the Yasuní National Park, the farmlands around Providencia and the cities of El Coca, Shushufindi, El Sacha and Lago Agrio.

The process and results of these studios were presented at the South America Project (SAP) in Harvard’s GSD and in the XIV Architecture Biennial of Buenos Aires. Parallel studios on the same topic were also conducted with Paulo Tavares (PUCE) in Manaos in 2012 and with Roger Sherman at UCLA in 2013.