Project encourages use of traditional architectural techniques and the transfer of ancestral knowledge

Jan 6, 2024 | 0 comments

An estimated 130,000 people in hundreds of communities in Ecuador will benefit from 22 projects of traditional vernacular architecture beneficiaries of the incentives launched by the National Institute of Cultural Heritage (INPC), that have been inaugurated.

In the Shalalá community of Cotopaxi Province projects have to been completed to encourage tourism.

Launched in 2022, the initiative made available a non-refundable economic stimulus of half a million dollars for two categories: Preservation of an existing community property and construction of a new community property.

“Vernacular/traditional architecture is part of the tangible cultural heritage and has an identity component of the collective or social group that transforms an environment, which is why it is closely related to the intangible cultural heritage,” INPC says in a description of the project.

In its selection process, the INPC received 89 project submissions from 17 provinces and 38 cantons. The submissions were subjected to a review process by a jury that evaluated the approach to sustainability, innovation and preservation of buildings through the application and rescue of traditional construction techniques that arise from the implementation of a community in its territory, according to INPC.

“From this initiative, wonderful projects are already a reality and will be inaugurated this year. This will directly and indirectly benefit nearly 130,000 people in hundreds of communities throughout the country,” INPC said.

According to the report of the institute, the progress of the projects ranges from 70% to 100% completion.

“Muyu wasi” (house of seeds) is one of the 22 projects that are already completed. Its main objective is to host ancestral, native and creole seeds of quality, becoming a learning center on the value of seeds and their crucial role in healthy eating.
In addition, it seeks to be a living laboratory for research and knowledge exchange on permaculture, safeguarding and nurturing the food and cultural heritage, including the architectural heritage of the Indigenous communities of the Andean province of Imbabura.

The handicrafts center of the Shalalá community in Cotopaxi Province, also completed, seeks to provide residents with infrastructure that allows them to strengthen unity through construction with natural and local materials, and also aims to empower community members as bearers of knowledge in good environmental practices.

Another project in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the Tiwino dissemination center for the trade of traditional handicrafts, rescues traditional Waorani building techniques using local wood, guadua bamboo and palm leaves. The project addresses architectural preservation and integrates training activities, empowerment of new generations, and gender approaches seeking to preserve and share ceremonies, traditions and ancestral knowledge.

According to IMPC, the Tiwino dissemination center aims to increase the involvement of the community’s elders, to preserve ancestral architecture and to encourage the transfer knowledge to new generations.

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