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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.90 Santiago ago. 2015 

Demountable structures

Nii Juinti
Ucayali, Peru, 2014


Samuel Bravo(1), Sandra Iturriaga(2)

© Samuel Bravo, Sandra Iturriaga

© Samuel Bravo, Sandra Iturriaga

Nii Juinti is a home and school oriented towards the teaching of the traditional medicine of the Shipibo people based on the use of native plants. The school is located in the Ucayali River’s basin, in the Peruvian Amazon, in an area characterized by the precariousness of resources, in contrast to an abundant nature.

An architecture studio developed years ago –which set out to build a modest modular roof structure to host a stop-by shelter, typical of these rainy areas– allowed to anticipate some of the premises in the work: a shelter to protect from the sun and the rain, capable of giving place to the acts with the greatest constructive lightness possible. This resulted in a constructive system that was easy to assemble and disassemble with local labor, but above all, a light structure that is immerse in the surrounding landscape respecting the substantial relation between the shipibo people and their environment.

Hence, a cloak-like shelter was defined, typical of the local shebón (palm) constructions, but this time interpreted as a flexible shell, modeled by folding paper. The traditional structure –of beam and columns– becomes in this case a three dimensional fold built on a system of discrete and triangulated elements. The basic unit is built with wood pieces of 1.80 and 3.60 meters, easily harnessed in the area and whose geometry is defined by setting the distance between vertices. From this unit you can generate various spatial configurations to accommodate many different programs. The whole structure contributes to the generation of a light cover, which remains a subject to the climate´s intensity and the usual obsolescence of the jungle.

The proposed system is gradually adopted as a part of local practices, removing traditional deep-rooted techniques, and incorporating adjustments and adaptations of a new kind of craft. 

Left: Bedrooms pavilion - plan
Right: Classroom and dining room pavilion - plan
Legend: 1. Classroom; 2. Dining room; 3. Kitchen; 4. Bathrooms
Published scale 1: 500

Basic structural unit. S. e.

Up: Classroom and dining room pavilion - section. N. S.
Down: Bedrooms pavilion - section. N. S.
Legend: 1. Translucent and corrugated ridge; 2. Palm leaf; 3. 6 mm plywood; 4. 1½ × 4" quinilla structure; 5. Dovetail joint board; 6. 2 × 5" framework of beams; 7. 2 × 8" chassis; 8. 4 × 4" posts subjects to metal gusset.

Architects: Samuel Bravo, Sandra Iturriaga / Location: Ucayali, Amazonas, Peru / Commission: Asociación Nii Juinti / Construction: Amador Sánchez, Alejandro Sánchez / Date of Project: November 2013 – February 2014 / Fecha construcción / Date of construction Febrero a diciembre 2014 / February - December 2014 Materiales / Materials: Wood structure based on triangulated modules composed of quinilla manilkara bidentata parts of 3.60 m and of 1.80 m long; assembling pieces of wood with 5/16 × 5" bolts; cover on sebon palm leaves; lining of wooden plates; windows and doors made out of mesh mosquito net / Built area: 745 m² / Plot area: 32.400 m² / Cost: US$ 120 / m².

1. Samuel Bravo | Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2009. He has taught at the School of Architecture at the UC, Chile. His work has been published in ARQ, CA, Landscape World Magazine and Casabella.

2. Sandra Iturriaga | Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1993; Master of Architecture, Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, 2000. Professor and researcher at the School of Architecture at the UC, Chile. Since 2009 she leads the project “Mapocho 42K”.

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