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Boston Architectural College (BAC)

Boston Architectural College (BAC)

Boston, MA

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BAC Alum Patricio Cabal Designs a Sustainable Ecuador

By deancascieri
Aug 8, '17 1:48 PM EST
Patricio Cabal's team; from Left to right: Architects Carlos Enmanuel, Edison Rosero, Andrea Balcazar, Andrés Martínez, Patricio Cabal
Patricio Cabal's team; from Left to right: Architects Carlos Enmanuel, Edison Rosero, Andrea Balcazar, Andrés Martínez, Patricio Cabal

Patricio Cabal, MDS '14, a LEED certified Green Associate Professional, wants to change the way his home country Ecuador thinks about sustainable design. Living in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Patricio entered into the BAC's online Master of Design Studies in Sustainable Design program and earned his degree in 2014. The BAC spoke with Patricio about his interest in design, his accomplishments, and how he hopes to continue improving life in Ecuador.

When did you become interested in sustainable design?

Since I realized global warming was affecting our world and my country. Events like "El Nino current" and the continuous floods in my region really marked my way of perceiving how humans affect the environment. However, the interest for nature, geography, and weather has been my passion since I was very young.

Why did you choose the BAC?

The BAC's sustainable design program made me choose the school, as well as the ease of mostly studying online while continuing to work in my homeland.

What was your BAC experience like?

The online courses were very interactive and were perfectly suited to my work schedule. The Intensive weeks were very enriching due to the incredible professors and variety of professionals that were part of my group. I not only obtained a degree, but useful knowledge and amazing friends.

Tell us about your capstone project, Equahabitat. Has the Equahabitat house been completed?

The Equahabitat project turned out to be an amazing architectural proposal with an incredible social connotation. I decided to propose a dwelling that could dignify the lives of people living in the informal settlements of my hometown of Guayaquil, Ecuador. My family is the head of an organization in Ecuador called Prolabore Dei, a volunteer organization focusing on helping those most in the need in Guayaquil, so I have always been committed to helping others through my work and volunteering.

My Equihabitat project is an innovative, low-cost, sustainable home for the Ecuadorian environment. Plans for Equahabitat were published in Guayaquil's construction association magazine. The design won an honorable mention in the Dencity Competition for Shelter Global, an international competition, in 2015. Thanks to that award, the Equihabitat design was published in several international architecture magazines, including ArchDaily and Architectural Record. It also won the Barbara Walker prize given by the BAC. It has not been completed due to lack of funds, only the foundation of the house has been built. The approximate cost of the house is $15,000, with about $10,000 still needing to be raised.

Tell us about the two firms you founded -- Bioparametro and Caliptra Arquitectura -- after receiving your MDS from the BAC.

The studio of Caliptra Arquitectura was created in 2014, just after I graduated from the BAC. The word ‘Caliptra' means a cellular membrane that protects roots while they grow underground. Therefore, it makes an analogy of how nature tries to recover its space over concrete and the built environment. Hence, the studio promotes the designs of environmentally conscious projects that embrace sustainable strategies. Parallel to Caliptra, during the design of a sustainable project, came the opportunity to introduce a green strategy on it, specifically a green roof on the top of commercial building. Knowing the system and taking advantage of that situation, the business of green roofs and green walls was put on the table and I founded Bioparametro with a partner in 2015.

How many people work at your firms?

At Caliptra Arquitectura, we have 5 people, including me. At Bioparametro, we have four.

What made you want to open your own firms?

The decision to open my firms came with the desire to change the mentality of my people regarding green issues.

Is sustainable design popular in Ecuador? Do people recognize the importance of what you're doing or do you find yourself having to educate people on the importance of sustainable design?

More than sustainable design, Ecuador has had more examples of bioclimatic design due to the constant use of bamboo and other eco-friendly materials that are widely known in the region. However, sustainability, holistically speaking, has gained more terrain in the last few years, thanks to LEED certification and the awareness or knowledge that more professionals have acquired recently about the subject. Little by little, people and clients are recognizing the importance of including sustainability in design and construction processes. However, it is still a constant fight against most clients when they don´t value the innumerable benefits of sustainable design because we live in short-term minded society that always look for the maximum savings. I constantly keep educating people and colleagues.

How many projects have you worked on; how many have been completed?

I have worked on more than 80 design projects. 75% of them have been constructed.

What projects are you working on right now?

Currently I am working on several residential and commercial projects, including a catering plant/restaurant, a residential rooftop, and two countryside mansions among others.

Which of your completed projects are you most proud of?

- Sociedad Anonima Rooftop Bar in DelPortal building, Guayaquil´s first extensive green roof, and now also a famous rooftop bar in the city. Caliptra Arquitectura designed it and Bioparametro provided the extensive modular green roof tray system which is performing perfectly today.

- ACLES Colegio Monte Tabor, an art center at a prestigious high school in Guayaquil; this is the first stage of a 3 phase project that when it is finished it will become the Music Hall and Library Building of the School.

Both are shown on my webpage: www.caliptrarq.com

What is your ultimate goal/dream that you would like to accomplish through your design work?

First I would like to recycle and transform some neighborhoods of Guayaquil, through the reform of several municipal regulations that can implement sustainable strategies in the city to change the urban use and improve the life of its citizens. I would also like to design an eco-community that can become an example of conscious urban design for the country.

Patricio Cabal stands in Sociedad Anonima Rooftop Bar in DelPortal building

Patricio stands in the rooftop garden he designed for Sociedad Anonima Rooftop Bar in DelPortal building

Sociedad Anonima Rooftop Bar in DelPortal building

Patricio's rooftop garden at Sociedad Anonima Rooftop Bar in DelPortal building

Aerial view of Sociedad Anonima Rooftop Bar in DelPortal building

Aerial view of Sociedad Anonima Rooftop Bar in DelPortal building

ACLES Colegio Monte Tabor, an art center at a prestigious high school in Guayaquil

ACLES Colegio Monte Tabor, an art center at a prestigious high school in Guayaquil

ACLES Colegio Monte Tabor, an art center at a prestigious high school in Guayaquil

ACLES Colegio Monte Tabor, an art center at a prestigious high school in Guayaquil

ACLES Colegio Monte Tabor, an art center at a prestigious high school in Guayaquil

ACLES Colegio Monte Tabor, an art center at a prestigious high school in Guayaquil