Eco village to be built with cocoa waste in Ecuador

An architecture studio has designed an ecological village for the construction of a chocolate factory and an innovation center in Manabí, a province located in Ecuador.

The Cacao EcoVillage project will be created for the chocolate maker MUZE Cacao, which, in partnership with the NGO Avanti, invited the architect Valentino Gareri to bring an ecological project to life. For this, the village will be built with modular wooden components and 3D-printed elements from reused cocoa waste from the manufacturer itself.

“When we started working on the design of this villa”, says Valentino to echo“we were impressed with the fact that 80% of cocoa beans are not used in the chocolate production process and become waste”.

The architect mentions that in the circular economy, waste can become a resource, and that was the path he chose. With that, “here we took a step forward”, he says. “The cocoa waste will be reused for 3D printing parts of the village.”

EcoVillage’s design was thought to be a multifunctional space. In addition to the chocolate factory for processing cocoa, it will also house an educational and research center, a point of tourism and interaction between “innovative minds”. Or, as the creators of the project call it, the “Silicon Valley” for ideas focused on the circular economy, as the space is intended to be open to inventions and serve as a testing ground for startups, manufacturers, producers and researchers.

Architectural design embodies five fundamental principles. Modular, with a flexible architecture with different dimensions and geometries; the functional one, as it will be a space used by the factory, as well as for other purposes; sustainable, through the installation of renewable energy, natural ventilation and use of rainwater; technology activated, using tools for digital circulation, such as blockchain, IOT, and NFTs; and, finally, the connection between project elements and local traditions and communities.

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Architect Valentino Gareri’s project will use cocoa waste

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The EcoVillage will be built in Pedernales, a county in the coastal province of Manabí, where cocoa farming families work and live. The village, therefore, should foster the local economy and promote the development of the sector in the region.

The model follows the new environmental conditions. For Valentino, “sustainable architecture is a discipline that continuously evolves according to climate change”, both in relation to “the use of new technologies” and to adopt “solutions to reduce energy consumption”.

‘Solutions to environmental problems’

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The architect explains that the facades are inspired by the wide range of Ecuadorian multicolored houses and the colorful fruits of cocoa trees

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Atelier Valentino Gareri carries out projects that have a positive socio-environmental impact on the planet. That’s why there is no defined artistic line. The most important thing is “to provide, through our projects, a solution to environmental problems”, comments the architect. In this sense, the aesthetic results consider geographic and climatic characteristics. For this reason, they are usually different constructions, having in common the use of sustainable material.

For Cacao EcoVillage, for example, all buildings will be made from local, natural materials. According to Valentino, “the facades are inspired by the wide range of multicolored Ecuadorian houses and the colorful fruits of cocoa trees”.

But not only the aesthetics are inspired by the local culture. “The shape of the buildings facilitates the collection of rainwater: the water tanks are integrated into the roofs, whose shape was inspired by local Ecuadorian artistic patterns”, he says.

Gareri believes that architects have a responsibility to contribute to making the planet a better place, “where we can live today and which is the best home for the generations of tomorrow”, he concludes.

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