al bordE Arquitectos

Manabí, Ecuador

The Nueva Esperanza School, which was completed in 2009, attempts to live up to its name'new hope in Spanish'by providing a much-needed one-room schoolhouse for a coastal Ecuadorian community. Simple materials (including locally sourced wood, dried palm fronds, and a minimum of purchased hardware) went into the 387-square-foot thatched-roof building, designed by David Barrag'n and Pascual Gangotena of Quito-based al bordE arquitectos, who were commissioned by one of the school's teachers, and donated their services. Construction was a team effort: Members of the community assisted a team of volunteers and al bordE staffers to finish the building's hexagonal base, walls, roof, and furnishings.

ARCHITECT: al bordE Arquitectos (David Barrag'n, Pascual Gangotena, principals).

BUDGET: $200, donated by members of the community and the school's single teacher.

CONTEXT: In a beachfront community in the province of Manab', 160 miles east of the capital of Quito.