Multispecies design in Galapagos


Gianfranco Maiorano (M.Sc)

Natalia Juca Freire (M.Sc)

Pinak Bhapkar (M.Arch)

Rapas Teparaska (M.Arch)

2022 – 2023


The growing human population and its pervasive influence are causing biodiversity loss. There is a gap in addressing this issue in areas with highly delicate ecosystems. A purely conservation-driven approach like protecting intact natural areas, may not be sufficient. Cities are usually not created on how to manage other living organisms when biological diversity plays a substantial role. Within this framework, this project intends to explore -under a multispecies perspective- design solutions for housing in the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago with unique flora and fauna in the Pacific Ocean. In Galapagos, it is difficult to maintain the natural heritage while the human settlements demand an increasing flow of goods and services. This research questions how a new housing and settlement spatial configuration in Puerto Ayora (the densest town in the Galapagos) can operate as a sustainable model through the encouragement of the cohabitation of locals, tourists, and detected key species (giant tortoise, sea lion, and marine and land iguana).

This research was developed through a study of ecological interactions to generate multiscale strategies to attract crucial species into a new settlement in Puerto Ayora from an urban, architectural, and material development, exploring bio-ceramics as a potential material. Several computational tests and physical prototyping were performed to simulate environmental conditions and adapt the design to the species requirements, landscape characteristics and to explore the housing construction development to create an animal-human relationship by providing natural and well-connected spaces that allow the animals to fulfil their lifecycle needs through the city with minimal human disturbance.