Located on the northwestern side of Peru, the towns of Lobitos and Piedritas have unique climates and tourism landscapes. However, these towns are underdeveloped and have few resources, so they must import products from the nearby city of Talara. Since they are so reliant on external sources for goods and services, our engineering design group sought a solution to make Lobitos and Piedritas more self-sufficient.
We focused on some case studies from the citizens and were inspired by how dedicated these people are to bettering their communities. The people primarily want to attract more tourists while promoting local commerce, so our group wishes to provide the perfect community center for the locals of the Lobitos region. There are three key objectives of the Lobitos Community Center design: provide a unique, sustainable, and welcoming space that serves all members of the community, to act as an educational hub with a focus on environmental sustainability education, and, with time, to increase the accessibility of vital resources, like water and energy, through a phased plan.
The building style adopted for the construction of the Lobitos Community Center is called an Earthship, popularized by creative architect Michael Reynolds and characterized by natural materials, harmonious and ergonomic designs, and, most notably, the regeneration of waste. The Earthship building style uses nontraditional materials, like old car tires rammed with dirt for loadbearing walls, tin cans and plaster for partition walls, and glass bottles for decorative elements. Due to the materials used for the community center, the structure would be cost-effective and unique, even at a considerable size. Incorporating the community of Lobitos as much as possible to make the space feel like their own is a vital part of this design because the construction process can serve as both an educational and creative opportunity for interested locals. The community center could also be a beacon for ecotourists by emphasizing the design’s down-to-earth and environmentally responsible nature. The center would incorporate the local industries and provide eco-friendly lifestyle education and training to the residents while employing them to pass along their knowledge.
Our hope for this community center focused around sustainability education is that the residents use it to fit their local and societal needs and ultimately expand upon it for more opportunities in sustainability with a sound, phased plan.