Over the summer between August and September of 2013 a group of 11 Students from the University of Cambridge were in Ecuador to construct a series of three prototype houses. The first was a design in line with the houses produced by the partner NGO of the Ecohouse Initiative, Techo. The second was an adapted designed, based on the Techo standard house but which had been adapted for the social requirements found in a Brazilian context. The third was an experimental design for permanent housing in Ecuador. The objectives were:

  1. To evaluate the collaborative clusters that had been put in place, where students, academic researchers, alumni, local community members and professional practitioners work hand in hand.
  2. Give the students hands-on experience in a design and build project.
  3. Experiment with the construction of different pre-fabricated panel designs, with the aim of them being showcased and researched for the future development of permanent housing designs.
  4. Exchange knowledge between the technical expertise of the students and the skills of local construction practitioners, to achieve a technological cutting edge housing prototype that is optimal for the 5) Ecuadorian context for bottom of pyramid clients.
  5. Have a construction that can be showcased to prospective owners for sociological evaluations.
  6. Highlight lessons learnt for future development of the permanent house design.

Engage was brought into the project for it’s offer of project design reviews, project mentoring and general management advice. In the first instance Engage worked with the project coordinators to set up and run a GANNT chart for the key organisation and construction activities, which was then used to review the progress of each respective work-group on a bi-weekly basis. Secondly, Michael Maks Davis from Engage became the site resident engineer for the design and construction of different types of pre-fabricated panels, in addition to the design of the housing floors and foundations. This meant the housing design was optimized as a pre-fabricated building structure, where the wall panels and roofing were ready for their transportation to the building site at Ecaudor’s new City of Knowledge in Yachay.