Project: The Endemic House
Location: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador
Area: 1,291 sf
Photographs by: José de la Torre
Endemic House by ESEcolectivo
ESEcolectivo has designed the Endemic House – a fantastic, unique dwelling located in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in Ecuador. It might only have about 1,300 square feet of living spaces to offer but every single corner in this house has some sort of artisanal value.
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 the local workforce and materials. The limited budget represents an important challenge in terms of management and logistics.
The project occupies an area of approximately 120m2 on the ground floor, leaving a rear patio for a vegetable garden, which continues as a green area in the mandatory retreats in the front and the side. Towards the other side, there is an elongated space limited by the neighboring house, facing the bathrooms and containing the laundry area on the ground floor. The Endemic House is resolved through a bamboo (caña guadua) structure, which has been collected and treated in the Islands by a local builder. To save costs, the work monitoring is carried out remotely, establishing a close relationship between the clients, the builder, and the architects.
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. The ground floor is divided between the social areas and a guest room that avoids the stairs, for the comfort of the elderly visitors. Upstairs, there are two rooms differentiated by a half-height level variation and a bathroom. The level variation allows an indirect relationship between the master bedroom and the playroom for the child, with the possibility of closing as a single room when privacy requirements change. On the third floor, there is a small studio room/viewpoint, a space that rises above the neighboring buildings and opens onto the façade towards the coast, framing the view of the sunset.
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 cane in different ways. On the other hand, the water in the house is heated through solar panels, while gray water is treated through a purification system with plants, which leaves irrigation water for the green areas. Due to material import restrictions, the roofing and their corresponding insulation are resolved with industrial elements.
It is important to mention that, 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 out of metal and concrete.