freddy bonilla estudio's casa cóndor revives vernacular architecture in ecuador

freddy bonilla estudio's casa cóndor revives vernacular architecture in ecuador


casa cóndor by freddy bonilla estudio features recycled and traditional materials found on site


casa cóndor is a family house nested in one of the valleys of loja, ecuador. sitting on a 2,000 sqm plot of land, the residence was designed and built by freddy bonilla estudio with the help of a local workforce that had a firm grasp of vernacular architecture. that said, and wanting to revive ecuadorian traditions, the architects composed the structure out of mud, wood, adobe masonry, bamboo, reed, brick, and tile — most of which originate from a disused house on-site that the team took apart block by block. 

casa condor rescuing vernacular identity in ecuador 2
all images © nicolás provoste



portals, terraces, and simple interior layouts


essentially,  casa cóndor is defined by its many portals and terraces, since being outdoors and enjoying the views are fundamental to the owners’ day-to-day program. interiors wise, freddy bonilla estudio’s team outlined the ground floor with c-shaped walls that separate the social area, made up of a double-height living room and kitchen, from the intimate zone where two bedrooms can merge into one thanks to sliding doors. the first floor, meanwhile, hosts a suite, laundry room, and terrace that offers a view onto the surroundings and living room. 

casa condor rescuing vernacular identity in ecuador 1
casa cóndor features recycled adobe, tile, and wood



a self-sufficient home made from mud, adobe, wood, + bamboo


structurally, the masonry combines bamboo, soil, and reed (a wetland plant) — all found and harvested on-site by a local master builder. additionally, the recycled tile roof on the ground floor is supported by a wooden foundation formed mainly by two large trusses that sit on the walls and posts, protecting the portals and creating a double-height ceiling in the living room and master bedroom. 

casa condor rescuing vernacular identity in ecuador 3
portals and terraces dominate the architectural design



moving to the upper floor, two inverted and funnel-shaped water tanks protect the suite and collect rainwater that feeds a pond where domestic animals can drink. the suite’s particular character and wing-like roof also provide room for a skylight that lets in natural light and expands spatial breathability. emphasizing the self-sufficient character of the house, bathroom facilities are connected to a biodigester that processes wastewater to irrigate crops.

casa condor rescuing vernacular identity in ecuador 4
exterior gallery with the baked clay tiles that dominate the floors



reflecting on the experience of completing casa cóndor, freddy bonilla estudio states:’[it is] a project that has excited us and given us the certainty that the vernacular knowledge of the land is and continues to be effective and powerful, the challenge is to continue transmitting it, improving it and applying it to demonstrate its perpetuity.’

casa condor fredy bonilla estudio
wooden structure complemented by reinforced concrete

casa condor fredy bonilla estudio
exterior stairs leading to the suite area on the first floor


casa condor fredy bonilla estudio
second floor terrace

casa condor fredy bonilla estudio
living room with skylight





project info:


name: casa cóndor
location: loja, ecuador
architecture and construction: freddy bonilla estudio

structural engineering: patricio cevallos

construction dates: 2018-2019

photography: nicolás provoste




designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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