“OCUYREY guarani MBYA hall” is a project by architect julio ignacio paez which offers a new community space to the indigenous peoples of Misiones, Argentina. located in a remote location, the building is described as ‘a door to the jungle’ and is articulated by an elegant bamboo structure and a large bamboo roof covering. The project seeks to help empower Guarani communities by incorporating local knowledge, materials and structural techniques into architecture that is both sustainable and replicable.
images © Federico cairoli
the guarani are a group of indigenous peoples of south america united by a common language and culture. in misiones alone, there are more than 10,000 guarani in 120 communities. speaking of the tireless struggle for indigenous rights, the architect julio ignacio paez Explain, “Their determined defense of the environment is due to the fact that today the lack of vegetation leads to food shortage, complicates religious practices, makes self-sufficiency impossible and causes weakness. the project aims to contribute to the empowerment of communities through a common, reproducible and sustainable project, which strengthens and preserves their ecosystems and their culture, for the benefit of their community and social well-being. ‘
the height and shape of the building was dictated by bamboo, which was specified for construction due to its rapid growth, high tensile strength, light weight, and considerable absorption of carbon dioxide. bamboo also establishes a practical, symbolic and aesthetic relationship with traditional Guarani constructions, strengthening the sense of belonging to the structure and allowing the community to be involved in the construction process. the structure and the roof are made entirely of endemic bamboo. the bases are metal with a concrete foundation and the ground and retaining walls are built with local stone.
old, local and sustainable structural techniques have been combined with simple and accessible industrial techniques that speed up construction time and improve the quality of the structure. Through community involvement, construction costs have also been reduced and new practices have been shared, meaning that local people can adapt, transform or replicate the structure.
the floor space of 100 m² is open plan, which allows it to accommodate a wide variety of functions. it is currently used as a place to sell handicrafts and traditional rituals, celebrations and songs to visitors, thus generating income for the community. run by groups of volunteers, social organizations and the community itself, the OCUYREY Guarani MBYA room hopes to become a model for other communities.