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Amazonas - Leticia - Puerto Nariño - Comunidad 20 de julio.


Handicraft Cultural Centre 

Lead Architects

Sebastian Contreras


176 m2

Project Year





There are several themes that appear and are amplified when one develops a space project built in the Amazon. A place as biodiverse as this one, gives architecture a lot of information that other places simply don't have.


We can say with certainty that all architectural themes have a greater degree of complexity in the Amazon; the heat and humidity outside and above all inside the spaces; the ancestral constructive tradition versus the local labor force and the indigenous community; the choice of materials versus the sustainability of the territory; the transport of materials through complex geographies, the program and activity within the work, which in this case is the sale and production of craftsmanship versus the daily customs and cultures of the people and community, the remoteness of the work from a populated center that allows the supply of inputs for construction; the scarcity of water and the intermittence of electricity, and if we add to all this a scarce budget, we can say that the project becomes a great challenge.


Realizing this complexity allowed us to face the architectural project in a different way. We could no longer act the way we did in the city or in the countryside, here other kinds of issues start to matter. It is at this moment that the architectural project becomes key in the way of acting, since it acts as a synthesis mechanism. Through a synthetic observation of architecture, we had to group as many themes as possible. We had to find what was in common among the variables, which would fundamentally allow us to unify criteria and synthesize with the design an architectural space. 


What do heat, humidity, labor, materials, geography, indigenous culture, transportation, cost, construction system, local labor, time and production and sale of crafts have in common? We believe that what unifies all these variables, is found in its own reality and idiosyncrasy, in the way that the indigenous community faces its daily life, which in this case has a direct relationship with the craft. We believe that by working in a Craftsmanship way we can give sense and direction to a work of architecture.


The Artisan value that we propose lies in the possibility of thinking and doing simultaneously, or as proposed by Richart Sennett in his book "The Craftsman" "The craft is the art of making thought". The author highlights Craftsmanship, as the art that writes, describes and prescribes the importance of Doing and places this Doing with Hands in a relevant place in the acquisition and creation of knowledge.


Richard Sennett defends in his book that doing is thinking. He argues that you can think with your hands and that special learning and intellectual knowledge is produced through repetition of an activity, especially physical activity, and that it is more physical than building an architectural space. 


He defends that the Craftsman is distinguished from others because he does his job well just for the sake of doing it well. For the author, so Craftsman is a carpenter, a writer, an architect or a parent, provided he feels a special interest in doing well once and better the next time the work entrusted.


Since de Aristotle, theory (Theory) and doing (praxis) have begun to be defined. Theory is the capacity to think, to intellectualize, to see beyond and to illuminate the praxis that has always been understood later, since it is the application of theory. Theory is, from a platonic point of view, reality, and praxis is the application of that reality.


Theory deepens the thought of the work, but it does not leave a visible, asible or perceptible product in the world, while in practice it takes place to manufacture, elaborate, offering as a result an appreciable, concrete, plausible and lasting product in time. The interesting thing appears when we unite these two realities in what Aristotle called Poiesis, which has to do with creation, with making sense. It is not just any doing, it is a creative doing, therefore a theoretical-practical one. 


According to Aristotle, our way of being and being in the world has these two dimensions, theoretical and practical. The interesting thing happens when we understand the relation between these two conceptions, when we do thinking or when we think doing, since it is in that moment that we begin to do and to think with sense, or as Aristotle would say, a poetic practice.

Handicraft Cultural Center - Amazonas

Handicraft Cultural Center - Amazonas

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This reflection seems relevant today in all our professions and above all in Architecture. Today we are inserted in a mechanism that has not brought benefits to the planet, that has separated thinking from doing and has produced in architecture what we could call the generic work, or the generic space according to Koolhaas: be it an office, an airport, or a house. 


These constructions have contaminated the planet as much and more than other manifestations. They have contaminated it with rubbish, waste materials and the indiscriminate use of oil, and they have also contaminated it with superficial architecture, which does not recognise identity, which can be anywhere. Today more than ever we need particular works, which recognise local values, which are built with local logic, which think from, with and for there. 

The SDG in which this project is inscribed are 

We achieve this through a constant evaluation of the impact of the project on the site, the energy incorporated from the materials, the social impact and the spatial warmth.

Estación Espacial Arquitectos Maintains a highly personal level of service throughout the design process and offers strong technical and structural solutions through close collaboration with the technical offices.

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