prefabricated SULA cabin journeys from quito to its galápagos island site

prefabricated SULA cabin journeys from quito to its galápagos island site

SULA: a Message of Environmental Responsibility and Innovation

 

In the heart of the Galápagos Islands, architect Diana Salvador has unveiled her latest residential project known as SULA. This cabin structure, named after the suliformes bird genus ‘piqueros,’ exemplifies the meeting of innovative construction and environmental responsibility. Salvador’s timber design had been prefabricated in Quito, Ecuador before its assembly on Santa Cruz Island. The architecture reflects a commitment to minimizing ecological impact while providing a comfortable living space for its client, a family who has resided on the Galápagos Islands for over four decades.

 

The core design principle behind SULA was to create a habitat that is sensitive and respectful to all stakeholders — the environment, the context, the occupants, and the design team. This holistic approach guided every decision throughout the project.

diana salvador SULAimages © JAG Studio @juanalbertoandrade.ec

 

 

the Sustainable Journey from Quito to the Galápagos

 

The Diana Salvador-designed SULA home was pre-fabricated over two months, featuring the integration of 17,000 screws and nearly 2,000 custom-made components crafted from wood, metal, aluminum, and glass. After assembly, it was transported in two trucks from Quito to the port of Guayaquil and further shipped in two containers to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, where it was assembled in just one month by a dedicated team of four individuals, with six itinerant experts in various fields. 

 

Taking a house in pieces from the mainland to an island is a bold statement of innovation, conveying a message about the imperative for change in our environmental consciousness. It signifies that construction can be undertaken without causing negative impacts, emphasizing the commitment to environmental responsibility and resource optimization in every stage of the process.

diana salvador SULAto minimize concrete use, gavions were employed as foundations

 

 

diana salvador promotes Scalability, Flexibility and Efficiency

 

One of the outstanding features of Diana Salvador’s SULA cabin is its scalability, transport flexibility, and adaptability to its surroundings. Industrialized construction processes were employed to maximize resource efficiency, allowing the architecture to travel to its destination. The project represents the second step in experimenting with prefabrication as a means to validate the hypothesis that a construction system can promote collective well-being while minimizing carbon footprint. It represents a radical shift in how the team approaches construction and the role women play in the architectural profession.

diana salvador SULA
prefab components are designed like a large-scale LEGO set

 

 

SULA’s architecture marries function with interior comfort through bioclimatic strategies validated by dynamic thermal simulations. Elevating the structure enables the utilization of air currents to create a cold air chamber underneath, improving ventilation and energy efficiency. The walls and roof form a double-layered structure housing structural beams and ensuring effective interior airflow. Perforations in the floor and walls allow for cross-ventilation.

 

What’s more, the elevation of the structure allows for the potential disassembly for relocation, with its components designed like a large-scale LEGO set that can be transported and reinstalled in various environments with ease. To minimize concrete use, gavions were employed as foundations, designed to be easily dismantled and respectful of the soil — an example of the project’s commitment to nature.

diana salvador SULA
the double-layered structure houses structural beams and ensures effective interior airflow

 

 

minimalistic and Eco-Friendly Materials

 

SULA relies on only five primary materials — wood, stone, metal, glass, and PVC, used in a pure and proportional manner to create an environmentally balanced structure. Each material was selected based on its efficiency and flexibility. Plywood emerges as the most representative material, utilized for the structure, interior walls, furniture, and ceiling. Precision in its format, coupled with mechanized cutting processes, ensures resource optimization. The roofs are constructed with PVC sheets, which also serve as waterproof umbrellas, enhancing the cabin’s resilience.

diana salvador SULAthe home is built of wood, stone, metal, glass, and PVC

diana-salvador-SULA-JAG-ecuador-designboom-06a

the design by Diana Salvador promotes collective well-being while minimizing carbon footprint

diana salvador SULA
the core design principle was to create a habitat that is sensitive and respectful to its site

diana-salvador-SULA-JAG-ecuador-designboom-08a

plywood makes up the structure, interior walls, furniture, and ceiling

 

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lower level floor plan
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project info:

 

project title: SULA

architecture: Diana Salvador | @diana_manzana_salvador

location: Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

bioclimatic consultant: Yess Innovation

structural consultant: Patricio Cevallos

collaborators: Carlos Burbano, Steven Sangucho

photography: © JAG Studio@juanalbertoandrade.ec

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