the aim of BB&B’s latest development was to improve amenity and capacity for the broadest amount of the community as possible by addressing core problems – no public toilets, no fresh water, no hygiene facilities. more than just buildings, the ‘lospalos cultural center’ introduced self-sufficient fresh water systems, toilets, and informal community and formal programmed space. ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broken’, ‘listen to the locals’, ‘use what’s there’, ‘make it work for the place it’s in’. these nuggets of common wisdom were at the core of the lospalos cultural center project in east timor.
the aim of BB&B’s latest development was to improve amenity and capacity for the community
development work in emerging economies can be problematic, so it’s important to work off the backs of the teams already underway in these contexts. vast sums of labor and money can be wasted when foreign systems, knowledge and capital-accumulation are imposed on local communities. as architects in this project, australian based BB&B did not take on the role of masters or sole visionaries but worked to empower the community and its many voices and expertise. the designers tie together all the pieces into a coherent, robust outcome, which is practical in its approach but ambitious in its aspiration. extensive consultation with the local community, rigorous structural testing of materials produced locally, observation of the way locals used the already existing buildings on site, and deep research into global and vernacular waste management systems and local climate produced a hard-working cultural center.
the design team worked to empower the community and its many voices and expertise
the cultural center is a piece of physical infrastructure that provides for necessities and facilitates culture. the big roof canopy, wide eaves and open breathable fabric are designed specifically for the tropics. the big roof collects rainwater to provide fresh clean drinking water and hygienic toilets and hand-wash facilities. the spaces are only informally programmed to allow a range of unexpected and improvised things to happen there – it’s a place for events, performances, learning, teaching, playing, and somewhere the community can just hang out. as a core piece of community infrastructure BB&B’s ‘lospalos cultural center’ is a living museum where tourists and locals hang out together and learn from one another.
rainwater collection provides fresh clean drinking water and hygienic toilets and hand-wash facilities
columns and facades
BB&B’s sustainable hygiene system
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edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom