EcoMaterials at Biennale of Architecture of Quito

EcoMateriales en Bienal de Arquitectura de QuitoThe fourteenth Biennale of Architecture of Quito was an event of great magnitude. More than a thousand people were registered in some of the activities, and the great theater of the Cultural Center of the City filled when the "crème de la crème" of international architecture present their keynote addresses and lectures. Within the framework of the Biennale members of the EcoSouth Network presented a five-day seminar that focused upon EcoMaterials, tradition and leadership.

This is the interesting focus of a five-day seminar given by members of the EcoSouth Network within the framework of the Biennale of Architecture of Quito. More than a year ago the Network received this invitation and the Ecuadorian colleagues have worked intense to coordinate their activities within the great (and grandiose) event that is the Biennale of Quito.


The fourteenth Biennale of Quito is an event of great magnitude. More than a thousand people are registered in some of the activities, and the great theater of the Cultural Center of the City fills when the "crème de la crème" of international architecture presents their keynote addresses and lectures (conferencias magistrales). The ample ambience of the entrance to the complex is boils constantly with students and professionals from all of Latin America, conversing, revising books, and discussing various projects of the competition that are displayed in the same ambience.

Keynote presentations occurred during the afternoons, while during the mornings four seminars were offered about various architectural themes. Because 270 people had registered and paid their colegiatura for the seminar, a two-story auditorium was required. The Monday session opened with an introduction to the theme of EcoMaterials (Kurt Rhyner) followed by presentations sobre MicroConcrete Roofing tiles.

The Tuesday session was earth construction, but due to changes of flight itineraries certain adjustments had to be made and, thus, began with the charicteristic of Puzolana as an agglomerate (engineer Javier Quiñonez). This change brought positive results insofar as in a certain manner it provided basic information for the following two presentations which concerned plastering of earth walls (Dr. Virgilio Ayala) and construction technologies (architect Bolivar Romero).


Wednesday´s session opened with a presentation about the cutural bases of architecture (architect Fernando Hinojosa), giving way to an ample review of the earth constructions throughout the world, traditional and modern, economical and luxurious (Dr. Gernot Minke). A presentation about security in construction (engineer Patricio Cevallos) set the framework for the presentation of a project about elaboration of construction standards in eath) Dr. Kurt Rhyner, architect Bolivar Romero, engineer Patricio Placencia).

Thursday´s session focused upon puzolanas and their use as a partial subsitute for Pórtland cement. Notwithstanding that on the previous night in Ecuador a spontaneous fiesta occurred because the local soccer team won against the world champions of Brazil in the elimination round for the next soccer world championships, the auditorium was again full, although with a half hour delay. It was surprising that engineering themes such as with the international experiences with Puzolana (Dr. Fernando Martirena) and experiences in Guatemala (engineer Javier Quiónez) were able to capture the attention of the architects and architectural students. The day closed with a presentation by the firm Holcim about futuristic architecture.

Friday, again with a full auditórium, was dedicated to visions for the future. The presentation of a technology at its apex, such is the partial substitution of Portland cement even in high-pressure concrete (Dr. Fernando Martirena), has a futuristic aspect, although the technology is still at the experimental phase in its applications in construction. A panel discussion with the presenters of the week provided the last opportunity for the public to ask question. All the presenters expressed their satisfaction with the high level of the many questions made by the public during the web. The simple fact that many participants asked to have their photos taken with conferencistas after the sessions, during the intermissions and in the hallways, can be seen as an indicator that the expectations had been fulfilled. Many books were autographed and autographs were even requested in the streets!

The closing ceremony of the Biennale was another magisterial event, in the "Capilla del Hombre", the majestic museum of the works of the genial Ecuadorian painter Guyasamín. This, as well as the other cultural activities in the evenings, is an important part of the success of the Biennale of Architecture of Quito.


You are here: Home Past editions Edition #9, January 2005 EcoMaterials at Biennale of Architecture of Quito


Martín Meléndez
Civil Engineer
Spanish and English
Microconcrete roofing tiles (MCR), CP 40 (alternative cement), adobe, tapial, burnt clay bricks, social organization, workshop planning for MCR and alternative cement, setup and implementation of housing projects, disaster prevention in construction


Brickmakers mixing the clay in the traditional way
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