• Location: La Paz, Bolivia
  • Budget: 450.000 USD
  • Year of construction: 2017
  • Client: Alalay Foundation
  • Partners: Sisul Consulting

UNICEF estimates that 616,000 Bolivian children and adolescents must work in order to survive and over 3,700 of them live on the streets. Unfortunately, their number is on the rise and new, healthier hospitality centres are urgently needed to house, feed and educate the street children in a supportive and loving environment.

Aldeas is a mountainous settlement immersed in the Andean natural landscape away from the temptations of the urban environment. The Aldeas project aims to design and build a new children’s centre that will future proof the Alalay Foundation’s rescue, rehabilitation and training program. The architectural design accomplishes this by taking an entirely contextual and sustainable approach inspired by the Aymara’s vernacular, locally available materials and construction technologies.

The project includes three new buildings: a new home for children aged from 0 to 5 years, a new kitchen and dining room, and a new home for volunteers. The site itself includes an amphitheatre and a playground. The volumetric composition is anchored around a central hub, a perfect geometric centre and a symbolic representation of man and earth in the Aymara culture, according to which half of the circle is mankind and half is the earth. From a construction point of view, the project aims at providing a modern contextual translation of the traditional adobe brick construction, thereby changing the socio-economic stigmata of this culturally significant building material. Therefore the proposal is designed to break the cultural misconception that local earth building techniques are chosen by the poor only out of necessity.

CREDITS: Simone Pagani, Jeannie S. Lee, Andrea Panizzo, Edoardo Paoletti, Gianluca Stefani, Radim Tkadlec.