Tuesday, October 30, 2007
With concrete/rebar being the predominant construction method in much of Ecuador, we should think about pushing the limits of its uses -- with regard to natural light, insulation capacity, sustainability, etc. Of course, doing so with a much smaller budget and much simpler construction techniques...
See more of Ando's work here.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
By James Ingham
BBC News, Bolivia
Although the majority of Bolivia's population is Catholic, many believe not just in a Christian God but one they have worshipped for millennia.
Indigenous and Christian beliefs have fused together here. God is worshipped but, just as important, is Pachamama or Mother Earth.
The Aymara people have lived in the Andes for more than 2,000 years, pre-dating the Incas who ruled over large parts of the west of South America.
An indigenous woman sells a llama foetus in Witches Street, La Paz, Bolivia
The llama foetus is considered sacred by many in Bolivia
Many of their traditional beliefs remained intact during the later Spanish colonisation and they still survive today.
In Bolivia, more than half the population consider themselves indigenous Indians. The Aymara is one of the biggest groups.
Even the president respects their ancient rituals.
In the steep, cobbled, back streets of La Paz, Bolivia's administrative capital, it is easy to see these traditions being practised.
The area is busy. Day-to-day life is a constant bustle, with women selling fruit and vegetables, sitting alongside friends flogging alpaca wool hats to tourists.
We live and eat from the land. Pachamama is our mother and we have to respect her
Juana, spiritual healer
Here small shops and wooden stalls are stacked high with potions, charms, and herbs, and not too pleasant looking llama foetuses. More on them later.
Behind each one stands a woman, waiting patiently for her services to be needed.
In one of these stalls I got chatting to Juana and Ivan, a husband and wife team said to have a special gift.
Juana is a practising Yatiri, a spiritual healer.
Llama foetuses for sale in market
Llama foetuses are offered for sale in Bolivian markets
She learnt the craft from her father who was, in turn, guided by his father.
Her family, she says, has been blessed for generations, but she told me that of five children she is the only one with this power.
"I realised when I was nine that I could heal," she said. "I helped my mother and sisters when they got ill."
When she was 16 she started working on the stall, slowly taking over the business that has been on this spot for half a century.
For 12 years this very calm and gentle woman has been helping people who are sick and trying to bring them good luck.
"We live and eat from the land," Juana said.
Woman making offering
The offering included sugar tablets, herb and wool
"Pachamama is our mother and we have to respect her."
Many people burn offerings, hoping Pachamama will bring them good luck, health, fortune and happiness.
Juana offered to make me an offering too.
She began by spreading a base of herbs on a large sheet of paper. Then she started sifting through a box of small rectangular tablets made from sugar. Each one had a symbol on it - a house, a dollar bill, hearts, a star or a book.
She chose one with the outline of a condor, a giant South American bird. It would, she said, bring me positive energy and peace.
Wrapped in silver leaf
Another, with a picture of a nearby mountain, would bless me on my travels and she added another tablet that she told me would protect my health.
The offering was growing in size.
Map of Bolivia including the administrative capital La Paz
Next, were walnuts - again for health - sweets shaped like llamas - an animal that is so much a part of life here - more sugar cubes, then llama wool, the clothing of Pachamama.
On top of all this she placed a llama foetus.
If you were to dig up most Bolivian homes, you would find one of these buried beneath the foundations.
They are a gift to Pachamama, a way of apologising for cutting into her. They are an important part of any offering and are said to be very lucky.
The smoke swirling in circles was a sure sign of good luck
Next, she wrapped gold and silver leaf around the foetus, and added some llama meat, and incense, presumably to make the concoction smell nicer as it burnt.
Ivan meanwhile was chopping wood. Most people take their offering home to burn them there, but I did not think my hotel would be happy with that idea and I was sure Ivan could build a better fire.
He sent me off to buy some bottles of beer which we would use for a toast.
So right there on the street, next to the stall, we made the offering.
I placed the packet onto the wood and made my request to Pachamama.
With a little fuel, the fire took hold quickly. We toasted Pachamama with the beer, asking other stall holders to join in and wish me well.
James Ingham burns offering
An offering was burnt and prayers made to Pachamama
I should tell you at this point that I am soon to become a father for the first time and so my wishes from Pachamama naturally concerned the future for my child.
Juana was delighted and seemed genuine when she told me that the offering was being well received.
The smoke swirling in circles was a sure sign of this, apparently, and meant good luck.
The beer, she said, was particularly sweet, again a sign of luck.
She seemed really content when a man - no-one knew who he was - approached the fire seemingly transfixed by the flame.
"This is very lucky," she said. "And it means you'll have a son."
I will wait and see.
From Our Own Corresp
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
All of the finalists from this competition were innovative, but a few used materials especially well and we could learn from them while designing the chocolate factory and technology hubs. In particular, LDA Architects' reuse of damaged brick rubble and Shigeru Ban's famous recycled cardboard structural tubes should be looked into more.
Keep those minds open.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
So this is sort of unrelated but i thought you might be interested: the School of the Americas is an organization funded by our government that has provided weapons and military training to various governments and other groups in Latin America for a number of years. There is a protest against the SOA held every November at the organization's facility in Georgia, and this year WashU Amnesty is attending. I am planning on going, and it would be wonderful if we could get a decent number of students from Wash U! For more info. on the protest you can go to www.soaw.org . Below is a copy of the email from Amnesty about the trip.
"Hey Wash U Amnesty Members!!!
This is David Weisshaar. I am writing to let you guys know about options for going to the 2007 School of the Americas Vigil. The Vigil will be held on the weekend of November 16-18. There is a group in St. Louis called the Interfaith Committee on Latin America that is taking a bunch of people down to Georgia for the Vigil. One of the directors of the organization told me that she would be glad to add any Wash U student to her trip.
Here are the details:
-We would leave at about 5 P.M. on Friday, November 16 from the organization's headquarters, which are very near to campus
-We would return at about 1 A.M. on Monday, November 19
-The total cost of the trip is $105, which includes transportation, hotel lodging, and breakfast on Sunday morning. You would probably want to bring a little bit of extra money for food.
-We would attend workshops, meet with non-governmental organizations, and attend the main protest and direct action at the gates of SOA
If you guys are interested in attending the Vigil, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!"
Friday, October 19, 2007
I created these images from digital elevation map data using GIS. They should help everyone orient themselves with the relative locations and elevations of the 3 relevant cities.
From Google Earth, the elevations for the cities are as follows:
Quito - 9,350 ft. (making it the 2nd highest capital in the world, after La Paz!)
Baeza - 6,200 ft. (almost higher than every point east of the Mississippi River)
Tena - 1,600 ft. (just east of the last large mountains in the Sierra)
Also, I've created a Picasa (Google) web album to share these and other pictures. The full-size renderings can be viewed there, and we can upload photos from Ecuador and other relevant pictures there in the future.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Here are some more projects to check out and get the ideas flowing:
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Russel Greenberg on Biodiversity
Friday, October 12, 2007
A not for profit organization designing and distributing water pump systems designed for remote areas lacking electrical capability. The pumps are powered by childrens merry go rounds:
Oberlin College operates a Living Machine in its Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies. Their website is quite interesting: http://www.oberlin.edu/ajlc/systems_lm_5.html
This sort of system seems the easiest, although a capacity of 120 people would require 20+ units:
An Environmental Engineering Professor, Lars Angenant from Washington University, is currently receiving NSF funds to research "large scale bioelectric wastewater treatment". Essentially, microbes can produce energy that could potentially be used to run the treatment plant processes. He may make a knowledgeable to adviser for our ideas in this field.
Ecuador Water News Item 1:
Global warming is drying up mountain lakes and wetlands in the Andes and threatening water supplies to major South American cities such as La Paz, Bogota and Quito, World Bank research shows.
Rising temperatures are causing clouds that blanket the Andes to condense at higher altitudes. Eventually this so-called dew point will miss the mountains altogether, said World Bank climate change specialist in Latin America, Walter Vergara.
The World Bank will publish details later in the year, Vergara was lead author of World Bank research published last month that found Ecuador would have to spend $100 million over the next two decades to cope with glacier retreat - by for instance drawing drinking water from the Amazon basin. Glaciers act as a regulator, providing a water supply during dry periods, when they melt, and absorbing water during wet periods. ...
Several glaciers, such as Ecuador's Cotacachi, have already disappeared ...The disappearance of the Paramo would pose an even more serious problem than glacier retreat because more people depend on it for water, Vergara said.
Ecuador Water News item #2:
It is a well kept secret that Bechtel won a contract to privatize the
water in Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil, just months after the
massive citizen protests that threw Bechtel out of Bolivia. In October
2000, Bechtel signed a 30-year concession contract to run the water and
sanitation services in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Now, more than six years
later, the residents of Guayaquil are demanding damages from the company
for water contamination, an end to water cut-offs, and a return to
local, public control. On September 28 citizens gathered in front of the
offices of the under secretary of the Economy to protest the contract.
The Observatorio Cuidadano de Servicios Publicos is seeking to stop the
water cut-offs through legal action. A letter signed by thousands of
Guayaquil residents documenting the abuses of the water company will be
delivered to Ecuadorian President Correa.
In solidarity with these activities, we request that you sign-on to the
letter below addressed to Mr. Riley Bechtel, the CEO and chairman of the
Bechtel Corporation. The letter will be copied to members of the U.S.
Congress, the Ecuadorian President and the World Bank agency that
supported the contract.
Please send your name, organizational affiliation, and country to the
email address email@example.com
Thank you for your support.
Read more about Guayaquil on:
CONCLUSION: Our sustainable site design must pay attention to hydrologic features: precipitation, drinking water supplies, sewage, irrigation, safety systems, flood events. Wastewater treatment systems are quite complex in accordance with many variables. Professional consultation is likely to guide us best.
October 15 is Blog Action Day, and the theme this year is the environment. I believe we should participate as well to showcase our efforts.
More to come soon: subjects on volcanic geotechnical engineering. information pertaining to industrial sized "Living Machine" wastewater treatment for 120+ people.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The Ministry of Public Health organized a four-tiered system of health. (A bit like China's 3-tier system). Auxiliary health-care personnel staffed posts that served small rural settlements of fewer than 1,500 inhabitants. Health centers staffed with health-care professionals serviced communities of 1,500 to 5,000 inhabitants. Urban centers took care of the larger provincial capitals. Provincial and national hospitals were located in the largest cities. In the early 1980s, there were approximately 2,100 health establishments nationwide; the Ministry of Public Health ran more than half. Both the limited numbers of health-care professionals and their lack of training hampered public health care. These deficiencies were most apparent in regard to medical specialists, technicians, and nurses.
Infant mortality-rate estimates in the early 1980s ranged from 70 to 76 per 1,000 live births, with government projections of 63 per 1,000 live births for the period 1985 to 1990. Although these rates were a significant improvement from the death figure of 140 recorded in 1950, they remained a serious concern. Infant mortality (sort of the prime marker for an area's basic health overall) varied significantly by region and socioeconomic status. Surveys in urban areas showed a range of 5 to 108 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, whereas those in rural areas varied from 90 to 200. That's a lot. Intestinal ailments and respiratory diseases (including bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and pneumonia, which are easily curable and treatable) caused roughly three-fourths of all infant deaths. Crazy.
Childhood mortality (deaths among one- to four-year olds) dropped to 9 per 1,000 in the mid-1980s following immunization campaigns and some attempts to control diarrheal diseases. Acute respiratory infections represented one-third of all deaths in this age group. Further improvement in the childhood mortality rate demanded extending the immunization program, increasing the availability of oral rehydration therapy, improving nutrition, and controlling respiratory ailments.
Precise, detailed evidence about children's nutritional status remained limited and contradictory. The government conducted a national survey in 1959 and followed this with more limited studies in the late 1960s and 1970s. In the late 1960s, 40 percent of preschool children showed some degree of malnutrition. Among children under 12 years of age, 30 percent were malnourished and 15 percent anemic.
The main causes of death among adults in the mid-1980s were motor vehicle accidents, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, and tuberculosis. Maternal mortality remained high--1.8 per 100,000 live births in the mid-1980s. As with the case of infant mortality, maternal mortality national averages masked considerable regional variation, with the rate nearly three times higher in some areas. These higher percentages reflected the limited access many rural women had to health care. In the early 1980s, more than 40 percent of all pregnancies were not monitored; the majority of births were unattended by modern medical personnel.
A number of tropical diseases concerned health officials. Onchocerciasis (river blindness) was found in a number of small areas; its range was expanding in the mid-1980s. Although Chagas' disease (a parasitic infection) was not prevalent, environmental factors favored its spread. Leishmaniasis (also a parasitic infection) was expanding in the deforested areas of the coast and coastal tropical forest. Malaria was found in 60 percent of the country and became a major focus of public health efforts in the late 1980s. A drop in mosquito control programs coupled with severe flooding in 1981 and 1982 led to an increase in the prevalence of malaria in the mid-1980s. Between 1980 and 1984, the number of reported cases increased ten times. As of 1988, Ecuador also reported forty-five cases of, and twenty-six deaths from, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
The Ecuadorian Social Security Institute, an autonomous agency operating under the Ministry of Social Welfare, offered its members old-age, survivor, and invalidism benefits, sickness and maternity coverage, and work injury and unemployment benefits. In 1982, however, the system covered only approximately 23 percent of the economically active population (21 percent of men and 33 percent of women). Coverage varied widely according to urban or rural residence as well as sex. Urban women had the highest rates of coverage (42 percent), whereas rural men had the lowest (9 percent). Employees in banking, industry, commerce, and government, and self-employed professionals had coverage for most benefits. Agricultural workers were covered for work injury and unemployment benefits and were gradually being included in pension funds and survivors' and death benefits.
Hope this is helpful.
Equal exchange does really delicious gourmet hippie loving chocolate. we could learn a thing or 2 from them? check out their site. browse around and check it out. co-op, fair trade, and did i mention delicious?
I'd love some chocolate right now!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Samis = Energetic World
Pacha = Time and Space
Pacha-mama = Universal Feminine Energy in Time and Space = Urin
Pacha-kamak = Universal Masculine Energy in Time and Space = Hanan
Pacha-mama and Pacha-kamak = Hatun or Universe
Pachakutik = 500 years
Pachamamakamak = Mother Earth is the relationship of time and space (above and below)
Randi – Ranti - Raymi : return , give back
seven spirits (samai):
Allpa Tierra Earth
Waira Viento Wind
Nina Fuego Fire
Yacu Agua Water
Yurag Planta Plants
Rumi Piedra Stones
Anga Pajaro Bird
seven markers (saywas):
Kausay Saywa (Life)
Chekaq Saywa (Truth)
Yuyaq Saywa (Wisdom)
Chullaq Saywa (Oneness)
Nunaq Saywa (Spirit)
Kallariy Saywa (Embodiment)
Munay Saywa (Love)
within every andean community, a shaman was responsible for maintaining the spiritual balance of the people. from healing illnesses to exorcising harmful spirits, these shamans were a storehouse of knowledge within their communities. at the base of this knowledge was the idea of the seven “saywas”—or markers which one is guided through life. these saywas were literally stone obelisks used as markers on important mountain tops for the rise and decline of celestial bodies. there is a myth that says that wiracocha raised seven saywas on the horizon of the mountain called munay (which means love). munay was the cosmic mountain that was though to bring heaven and earth together. the journey of a shaman was to conquer the summit of munay by embodying the teachings of the seven saywas. through understanding these seven saywas, one comes closer to the understanding that life is merely temporal. instead of asking “what is life?”, one was supposed to ask “how is life?”—making it participatory and attached to the existence of humankind.
for information on the specific saywas, you can refer to:
Monday, October 8, 2007
Reading the book "Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light," I was struck by a couple things:
1) The chocolate that Kallari will be producing is a gourmet, high-quality, "choice" product. After all, these are some of the best cacao beans in the world. What comes to my mind is wine, and it occurred to me that even the word "factory," although accurate, is missing something. They don't call it a "wine factory," after all.
2) The fact that, at Kallari, the collective will start with cacao farming and end with making chocolate bars, in the same general area, is almost completely unprecedented, maybe unique. Most people who farm cacao beans have never seen a chocolate bar, and most people who make chocolate bars have never seen a cacao tree. This will be a total upending of the usual business model, and this could have some implications for our design. For one thing, it's likely that world class choclatiers, and people who might want to stock the bars on their shelves, will want to come and meet with the managment, and they may need, quite literally, a meeting room. I.e. a room that is not part of the production process, not part of the library, not a "public" tourist area, but rather some place to conduct business meetings. (Clearly this could be a dual use area)
3) Do we know if the chocolate making will require some control of humidity and / or temperature (or other things) at some points?
4) My office is the basement of Cupples I, and (no kidding) there is a cricket living in the wall. This has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that nature can be impressive and unexpected. And that, outside of its normal context, it can be really hard to figure out what is making that darn chirping noise!
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Site area: 13 acres
Total facilities footprint: approx. 1300m2
External Areas:(Area: approx 470m2)|
Total occupancy: 100–140 people
* chocolate production factory (Area: approx. 400m2)
- provide a FDA & OSHA approved production area for the production of gourmet chocolate
- Work room
- Roasting room
- Melanger-broyer room
- Conching rooms
- Food store room
- Lunch room/kitchen
- Service parking for delivery trucks (capacity: 3 trucks)
*staff living quarters
- 8 persons
- living room
- laundry area
* a tourist visitor center (approx. 200m2 / 2)
- provide a public gathering space
- Café/chocolate tasting area
- Point of purchase area/small store
- Visitor restrooms
- Visitor parking (capacity: 3 buses, 10 cars)
*Community Gathering Spaces (approx. 200m2 / 2)
- Large meeting hall/auditorium (capacity: 60 persons)
- Community research library
* fair trade exchange /research center
- allow direct communication with international clients
- enable the artisans to continue to create unique designs
- photograph their art and immediately post each piece on the web
- artisans crave to research design trends
- Special order chocolates, such as wedding favors or specialized holiday gifts.
- Computer training room
- Small photography and graphics studio
- Server closet
- Administrative offices (2)
MODEL/PROTOTYPE FOR 3 SATELLITE TECH HUBS
Site: off-site, undetermined
Facility footprint: approx. 3 m2
Total occupancy: 6-8 people
- located off the main site in remote and semi-rural villages.
- 1 Design
- small independent structures, kiosks, addition to an existing structure, partitioned space within an existing structure
- Can be permanent or semi-permanent
- provide communication resources to international markets for rural artisans
enable artisans to receive and print orders for their handicrafts directly from overseas vendors
- provide access to the internet to allow artisans to research design trends to then modify their traditional designs to modern fashions
- communicate with Kallari's administrative offices and staff in the main complex
• 3 computer workstations per hub
• Secure storage
• Printing equipment
*sustainable and/or local building materials (bamboo, thatch and wood)
* using local labor to realize their design.
*respect and protect the unique environment and biodiversity of the Ecuadorian Amazon. *They must also honor the traditions and culture of the Kichwa-speaking (Northern Quechua) indigenous community.
An article giving some insight into government-citizen interaction and economic problems.
As I started to research, I realized I didn't know where our chocolate factory is in Ecuador. I love maps, so I spent some time with Google.
I've created a Google map that place marks Salinas, where the factory is, and the Napo Province, where the beans are grown (I got all this info from the Open Arch. Network website, so if someone knows the locations better than me, please help me edit them). You can see Napo in the NE part of Ecador on this map on the right. Salinas is located in the Central Highlands.
Check out the GMap:
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
- Materials (local) – per square foot, per beam etc.
- Energy sources - $20,000 included in comp. budget for solar panels. Geothermal price: $7500-$12000 for average US residence, usually 2-10 year payback
- Construction labor
- Transportation – look at costs for fuel, trucks, etc.
- Inputs (sugar, etc.)
- Cleaning Supplies
- 3 computers
o Paper/ink from rainforest fibers/materials
- Average income (members and non-members)
Regional Economy (Baeza, Papallacta, Napo province)
- Average income
- Job profile/distribution
- Literacy, health care, food
- Property value/housing cost
- Comparison to national averages
- Major exports/imports
- Per capita income
- Price history
- Average prices
- Labor practices
- Crop attributes (+ climate relationship)
- General history/description
- Typical income increase (%)
- History/current use in Ecuador
- Enforcement/certification (Transfair, Oxfam)
1) Cocoa trees
Cocoa trees take a few years (~5) to grow to maturity; until then, they don't produce much. Then, their yield goes up sharply from years 5-20. At that point, some trees will succumb to disease, and trees will age, and so they begin a long, slow decline until year ~50? They grow best in shade, so they are often grown with other crops like coffee (and this is probably why they grow well in the rainforest)
2) Market cycles
Due to the 5 year "ramp up time" once you plant cocoa, what often happens is that prices will be quite high, and so then everyone wants to have cocoa to sell, so people plant... and then after a few years, there is a bunch more cocoa on the market and prices go down. So, people stop planting, and trees age / diseases strike, and since production cannot be quickly increased, growers don't want to do new planting unless it's really necessary. So, they wait until prices are quite high, (repeat) So, prices often move in cycles on the order of 10 years. Also, in West Africa (at least when these books were written) there were "market boards" that effectively had a monopoly on the country's production and set the price, so their actions obviously affected prices.
3) World Regions
Most cocoa is grown in Latin America, West Africa, and Indonesia / Phillipenes. The cocoa from Indonesia / Phillipenes has only been substantial in the last 20 years, possibly because this is when hybrid varieties started to really take off, varieties that yield more cocoa, are resistant to some of the diseases etc. There is "bulk cocoa" and "fine cocoa," and a lot of the bulk cocoa is grown in West Africa and Indonesia / Phillipenes. Lost of the "fine cocoa" is grown in Latin America (Kallari is an example, I believe) because they use pure varieties and haven't taken on the more "plantation / large -scale" mentality of some other regions. There are many downsides; lower productivity, diseases, etc. But of course, the upside is that it's organic and tastes better.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Intel's Classmate PC, $200-$250. No hard drive, wireless enabled. Pakistan has ordered 100,000 of them for it's Open University, so that people in remote areas wont have to travel to get education. : http://www.bit-tech.net/news
Questions on whether or not laptops are even needed with a lively and amusing email debate between the NComputing founder, Stepen Dukker and the OneLaptop/Child guru, Walter Bender. Dukker takes a combative tone which eventually gets Bender going too. : http://online.wsj.com/article
NComputing. One PC, seven users. This is Mr. Dukker's organization http://www.ncomputing.com
*highlighted is the starting point for research
i. Cell phones
2. Max wireless
c. Fabrication (parts/3D printers)
d. Water technology
e. Appropriate Technology
i. Peanut Butter
ii. $100 laptop
How do we move people and material from one place to another?
· To and from tourist center
· What are they going to go to and come from?
· What are people doing (transporting)? How long will they stay there? Why are they in certain locations (giving money, work, etc)? Are they rockstars hankering for chocolate?
vii. Zip lines
i. Site Plan (Architecture overlap)
ii. Water management
iii. Building Orientation
iv. Square footages
c. Building Considerations
iv. MEP (mech, elec, plumbing)
v. ADA (American disabilities act)
Cell phones address poverty in developing nations: http://news.mongabay.com/2005/0712-rhett_butler.html
SunMicrosystems has $30-$50 internet phone as an alternative to the "$100 laptop". Not actually selling handsets, but building partnerships with manufacturers. JavaFX technology, supremly mobile, delivered to phone companies in binary (so can't be split). May 2007 seems to be the last mention of it online.
1. InfoDev works to promote better understanding and effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) as tools of poverty reduction and broad-based, sustainable development. InfoDev's work focuses on three main themes: Access for All; Mainstreaming ICT; and Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Growth.
a. NEPAD e-schools initiative - a multi-country, multi-stakeholder, continental initiative, which intends to impart ICT skills to young Africans in primary and secondary schools and to use ICT to improve the provision of education in schools.
1. Grameen Foundation serves as a catalyst and creates the linkage between the telecommunications sector and the microfinance sector to enable microfinance clients to borrow the money needed to purchase a "Village Phone business" – literally, a business in a box.
2. The village phone is: a phone, a booster antenna, and cables to connect them