Gregory Gordon joins us for the first time in the Architect-US Portfolio Challenge, he submitted a project called RAIZAL FLEXIBLE HOUSE. He worked on this project as his Thesis to obtain the title of Architect at UNIVERSIDAD DE COLOMBIA, FACULTAD DE ARQUITECTURA Y ARTES PROGRAMA DE ARQUITECTURA in BOGOTÁ in 2020. Now Gregory will be traveling to work in Philadelphia at Plato Studios as part of the Architect-US Job+J1 Visa Program.

“Raizal flexible house” emerges from the understanding of the housing necessities of the archipelago of San Andres and it seeks to contribute to the solution of alarming situations such as critic overcrowding and the qualitative and quantitative deficit of living places. This housing pilot gains special relevance because it has been created through the studying of history, culture, and the analysis and characterization of the traditional houses found on the island, all this nourished with the development of the theoretical framework on tradition and flexibility in architecture.

“Raizal flexible house” is not only an academic project, contrary it seeks future implementation by establishing an assisted self-construction guide in order to let the community participate in building their houses while reinforcing their cultural pillars: Life and construction in community.

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“Raizal flexible house” is a model of housing in traditional habitat, in which a flexible house is proposed based on the study of culture, traditions, bio-climatic factors and particular family composition of the community of the archipelago of San Andrés, Providence and Santa Catalina.

The project carried out aims to provide the native population of the island with the possibility of retaking and strengthening cultural values ​​that are in danger of disappearing through the construction of housing in the community, in addition to this the project can also be used as a methodological reference and investigation for interventions in traditional habitats inhabited by ancestral communities.

According to the above, the project emerges as a response to the loss of cultural values ​​of the Raizales, to the qualitative and quantitative housing deficit and to the loss of material cultural heritage on the island due to the processes of cultural alienation catalyzed by the entry and stay of continentals to the insular area as recorded by the latest development plans and books such as “wooden architecture of San Andrés and Providencia” by Fonseca and Saldarriaga.

In addition to the above, it is imperative to remember that the importance of this intervention lies in the fact that the territory in question is the only place belonging to Colombia that has the peculiarity of having a cultural base built from the dialogue between English and African traditions, which are of such importance that it should be declared as a “Cultural Heritage of the Nation, architecture of the Raizal People of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina” ,

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How would you design a project around the needs of a traditionally ostracized population? Leave us your thoughts/insights in the comments section below!! 👇👇👇

Images by Gregory Gordon

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