situated within the city of babahoyo, ecuador, natura futura arquitectura has transformed a one-story house into a permeable urban training center. the residential space was previously occupied by a young couple of gym-owners who decided to exchange part of their living environment, in order to generate a common training area, aiming to encourage collective athleticism and productivity. 

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all images by JAG studio



in order to lower the construction cost, natura futura has reused partitions, beams, and columns that were initially designed for a four-story building, forming the new training space. in addition, a barter was established between the project team and the clients, where the design and construction were basically exchanged for free access to the gym. in this way, the sense of community is strengthened, with the city developing from the decisions, agreements, exchanges and ventures of each inhabitant.

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the building was developed with limited resources, where both, technical and material solutions were designed based on availability. one can say that limitation was an important source of creativity, encouraging the natura futura team to design with what was necessary. as a result, local labor, regional materials, and a system of hybrid structures – featuring wood, concrete, and metal – were included, allowing the architects to adjust to the needs and possibilities.

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the project is configured and delimited by side walls of concrete blocks and exposed brick. the interior is openly distributed according to the different activities: weight, dance, cardio and boxing, along with an open terrace on top. the design avoids partition walls – except for the bathrooms -, in order to create a connection between activities, both horizontally and vertically. the front end avoids the use of glass, since it is solved with an 8m high mobile wooden lattice system, allowing control of ventilation, solar incidence and rain. thus, not only is thermal control and safety guaranteed, but users are encouraged to have more direct contact with the neighborhood.

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project info:


name: bardales – urban permeable training center
architecture office: natura futura
location: babahoyo, los rios, ecuador 



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: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom