Towards a contemporary vernacular architecture: the coast region of Ecuador
Ponce Valverde, Javier
For some Ecuadorians, a typical day might include checking e-mail, going to a shopping mall, eating a Whopper at Burger King, watching an NBA basketball game on ESPN, [or] renting one of Hollywood's latest box office hits at Blockbuster. One might be tempted to conclude that globalization has created a common culture among the world's diverse nations, especially in the Americas.' While it is true that most Ecuadorians actively embrace many features of the American way of life, they do not simply imitate their influential northern neighbors. Although Ecuadorians' have accepted many aspects of foreign cultures, they have also been persistent in cultivating and defending their Ecuadorianness. This thesis is a study of architecture within this context of cultural permeability and uniqueness. This study aims to demonstrate that through regionalism, contemporary Ecuadorian architecture can be founded upon rescuing and adapting regional cultural and natural conceptions. Currently this regional approach is rarely seen, due to the dominance of a universal architectural trend spread through globalization. In an attempt to gain architectural independence from universal trends, this thesis identifies common regional patterns that can be rescued from local historical architecture and that can form a basis for a future regional architecture. In essence, this thesis is a search for and translation of regional architecture undertaken through an analysis and synthesis of two main aspects. First, the analyses and discussions of vernacularism, regionalism, and critical regionalism are addressed, in order to define the most suitable theoretical basis for this proposal. Second, a study of local Ecuadorian architectural experiences is provided in which appropriate formulation and adequate architectural responses have been accomplished through focusing on immediate societal and contextual needs. This study focuses on two basic dwelling types. The Guayas house as the most predominant vernacular architecture from the rural areas of the Coast Region, and the modem housing estate house as a demonstration of the influence of globalization in cultural assets.