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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Vagón del Saber – Litoral in Itinerant, Ecuador by Al bordE architects

 
December 21st, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Al bordE architects

All those years of hauling have left it deformed. Even though it’s missing a bogie and has been derailed, when you saw it you could not help but feel respect. Not like what we see now … they don’t make them like they used to.” This is how Nelson, the train driver, describes boxcar 1513.

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

  • Architects: Al bordE architects
  • Project: Vagón del Saber – Litoral
  • Location: Itinerant, Ecuador
  • Photography: Al bordE architects, Cyril Nottelet
  • Project Manager: Jorge Noreña
  • Cliente: Culture & Heritage Ministry, Ecuador
  • Industrial Design: Juan Subia
  • Textile Cover: AAMAXIMA, Ing. Hernan Arias + Ing. Marcelo Pazmiño
  • Construction: Juan Carlos Castillo
  • Infographics: Rolando González
  • Design: 2012
  • Construction: 2012
  • Area: 36 m2

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

The train car has been selected to be part of the railway system recovery program by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture & Heritage. But unlike other elements that make up this restoration project, this boxcar carries neither freight nor tourists, but culture and public space.

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

The reactivation of the railway is a great event for the communities on its route. After twelve years of absence these settlements not only recover a means of communication and are reactivated economically, but they also recover, in many cases, their vocation.

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

Cultural promoters will use the train car as an activator of public space in the stations where it stops. The project must be able to allow musical performances, theater, community training, celebrations, etc… This means that the car does not have a strictly defined architectural program. That implies a challenge: it must work for any activity that the cultural promoters schedule.

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

MINIMUM COMMON DENOMINATOR

To resolve this multifunctional project, the solution focused on applying basic mathematics to architectural features. Everything is resolved under the logic of the minimum common denominator, or rather a minimal common feature: the greatest number of uses with the minimum number of elements.

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

Thus we concluded that for a public square, a theater (with a capacity of 60-80 people) and workspaces (for 20 users), we only needed to attach three elements to the car: a roof with several deployment options, retractable furniture and two storage spaces.  We worked with diverse industrial designers, each one focusing on a specific area: roof, furniture and storage. This allowed for an optimization of processes and construction time.

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

Simple systems operated by the cultural promoters can turn the car into a public square, theater or work space.

Soon the car will tour train stations around the coast and its use will add bruises to the deformed body, left intact to keep accumulating stories.

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

Image Courtesy © Cyril Nottelet

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

Image Courtesy © Al bordE architects

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