An Innovative Modular Building System in Ecuador

An Innovative Modular Building System in Ecuador

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By Jaime Gillin
Seeking a way to blend architecture into the natural environment, a pair of Ecuador-based designers invents a new modular building system.

Prefab construction is often compared to building with Legos. In the case of the Pentimento House, located on the outskirts of Quito, the metaphor is unusually apt. Overlooking the Ilaló volcano and Andes mountain range, Pentimento comprises hundreds of identical stacked concrete modules. As in a Lego model, the blocks simultaneously form "the structural and formal systems of the house," as architect Jose María Sáez puts it, as well as both the interior and exterior walls. Thanks to the region’s mild climate, there’s no need for insulation, and "you don’t have to build in a perfect way," says Sáez. "It’s like Adam and Eve, working in paradise. You almost don’t need architecture at all, just shelter from sun and rain. So you can build, and live, in a more basic manner, in a closer relationship with nature."

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