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ARCHITECTS without borders


Architects Without Borders – Austin (AWB-Austin) is a nonprofit organization that relies entirely on Austin-based volunteer architects and designers to provide specific design solutions to improve the health, safety, and sustainable built environment of communities that do not otherwise have access to these services. AWB-Austin provides ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need by enhancing their self-reliance through the use of local resources. The primary project focus for this chapter is Latin America, due to its proximity and cultural presence in Central Texas.


Rainforest Partnership’s relationship with the communities of San Antonio and Calabaza in central Peru makes the Colibri Cloudforest project an ideal collaborative model for community participation in design. Engagement of the local community and leaders throughout the development of a design is fundamental to a project’s success. This model is essential to understanding the cultural importance of established building systems and conventions, while also allowing AWB-Austin to work within those constructs to introduce more sustainable practices and materials using the resources available.


RAINFOREST PARTNERSHIP


Celebrating: Communities. Collaboration. Conservation. Cloudforests.


This project will help prevent deforestation, provide reliable, long-term income for community members, and preserve a very biologically diverse region.


allows them to keep their forests standing. Each year we take the opportunity to celebrate our partnerships with the rainforest communities with which we work and with people, businesses and organizations, like you.


A


Lucia Eslava, RP’s Peru program coordination + Eusebio Alanya, community leader + Colibri Cloudforest project coordinator


The Colibri Cloudforest Ecolodge design will take into consider- ation the local environment and ecological habitats by carefully siting the buildings to minimize the impact on and disruption to the site. It will be oriented to take best advantage of prevailing winds and sunlight and with special attention to regional temperature changes, both daily and seasonally. Innovative water strategies will be used to capture and reuse rainfall on the site and sustainable materials will be used for the construction. The community will actively participate in the construction of the buildings, which will demonstrate their ownership of the project.


Through the design of the Ecolodge, AWB-Austin seeks to help preserve the Colibri Cloudforest by providing the community new techniques and innovative uses of resources, in order to empower them to improve their own built environment with regard to the sustainable, healthy use of materials and structurally sound building practices that increase the life safety of the built environment, while minimizing the environmental impact.


WWW.AWB-AUSTIN.ORG


This year, we are celebrating our Colibri Cloudforest ecotourism project in Peru and our partnership with the Austin chapter of Architects Without Borders (AWA-Austin).


Rainforest Partnership has been involved with the communities of Colibri Cloudforest in the region of Pampa Hermosa, Peru, since April 2008 and partnered with them to start work in June 2010. Along the unpaved roads leading up to Colibri Cloudforest, deforestation is widespread, with many communities cutting down the forest in order to plant crops or create pastureland. Despite deforestation in neighboring communities, the communities of San Antonio and Calabaza have decided to keep their intact forest standing, creating the opportunity for the Colibri Cloudforest to become an “ecotravel” destination.


Rainforest Partnership is working with these two communities to develop infrastructure to support ecotourism. The Colibri Cloudforest is extremely biodiverse, and its beautiful natural attractions like waterfalls, flora, and fauna are easily accessible to visitors, but without basic tourism infrastructure, its ecotourism potential is limited. This project and the current development of a hostel and ecolodge will help prevent deforestation, provide reliable, long-term income for community members, and preserve a very biologically diverse region. The AWB-Austin is helping design adaptation of an existing structure into a volunteer and backpacker hostel and to design an environmentally friendly ecolodge.


RAINFORESTPARTNERSHIP.ORG OriginMagazine.com | 83


t Rainforest Partnership, our business is protecting tropical rainforests, and we do this by helping rainforest communities make an income that


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