How to create a production and technology complex in the middle of a rainforest? How to create a factory in a sustainable way? How to minimize the impact of a 1300 sqm unit while respecting and protecting a unique environment and biodiversity?

The Shaded Village project aims to integrate the traditions and culture of the indigenous community with the Fair-trade market needs in an environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy complex deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon.

In doing so, the Shaded Village project combines the advantages of a single building strategy (overall shading system/energy producer) with a more village-like strategy (local typologies, flexibility, ease of construction).

In terms of sustainability, the design of the Shaded Village intends to increase natural ventilation and use of alternative energies such as PV systems, biomass combustion (from cocoa waste), micro-hydro system, and waste/pure vegetable oil generator.


The complex is planned at the southern edge of the site to integrate a maximum of existing vegetation into it, while reducing the road access impact on the most level area.

The orientation of the buildings is totally dictated by the cardinal points to lower the interior solar gains and favor a natural N-S cross ventilation of the units. The N-S spacing in-between units is also regulated by Mahoney’s theory to maximize natural ventilation.

The implantation and typology of the buildings (perpendicular to the slope, and “lifted” from the ground) let the water run down the mountain to the river to the east.


Planned like a one-road village at the southern edge of the site, the complex is organized along a main path thought of as a main communication link. That link is part of a walk on the rest of the site, where organic gardens are developed. Plugged onto the path, all closed functions are allocated within several covered units built in traditional materials. The spacing in-between is wide enough to house public external spaces, such as picnic area, handcraft market, botanic gardens.

The design minimizes site disturbance by preserving existing relief and natural vegetation. The landscape design supports biodiversity and preserves natural habitats.


Unlike a one-building operation, such a fragmented ‘village-like’ organization does not only provide a regional look to the complex and a maximized contact with the environment while increasing natural ventilation, but also offers a useful flexibility in terms of adaptability to ground differences, easiness in building process and potential future extension.

To increase natural ventilation’s efficiency, the whole complex is covered by an overall efficient shading system made of bamboo and solar panels producing energy. This feature will help to maintain an enjoyable condition for workers and visitors, as well as those who view the complex from the overlooking surroundings.


The over-present concern about increase of natural ventilation is evidently encouraged to cool the different spaces and to avoid as much as possible the use of air conditioning systems. This operation has a double advantage: to lower operating costs and to obtain a more efficient sustainability. To achieve this, a specific design (roof/shading system) observable mainly in section has been implemented into the Kallari Association project.


Definitely aiming for an autonomous energy strategy, the Shaded Village project has to adopt an hybrid solar system (PV system (photovoltaic) to produce electricity and Solar water heater systems to heat water), combined with one or several of those other possible techniques (to be developed in a future phase):

– Biomass fermentation/combustion (from the cocoa waste; via gasifier system)

– Micro-hydro power turbines or generator (from the river) 

– Waste / Pure Vegetable Oil generator (from industry / agricultural gardens)

Although probably being the most exciting technique for the Kallari Association project, the biomass combustion from cocoa waste is not yet operable. Nevertheless, learning from former experiences of controlled biomass combustion in remote communities in the Amazon basin, a specific project for a chocolate production community could be developed potentially in collaboration with the CDEAM – Federal University of Amazon (Brazil) (cf Dr. Ruben Souza). They have recently been in charge of some sustainable developments of Amazon remote communities living from the production of cupuacu and açai pulps (fruits from the Amazon). In that scope of work, they developed autonomous energy systems using the cupuacu and açai waste to produce electricity.

In addition to those energy supplier systems, a sustainable vision should be integrated within the operating management of the complex, by using, for instance, solar or high efficiency cookers, fluorescent lights (rather than incandescent), etc.


A sustainable water system is achieved by: 

– collecting the rain water via the roofs design, in a central gutter, and then stored in a cistern (or pond at ground level)

– biological treatment (beds of plants and aquaria) that eliminate nutrients and bacteria and convert greywater and/or sewage into clear water (biological system as opposed to septic tank with biofilter combined to a tiled leach field)

– re-use of greywater to flush toilets

– storm water drainage system managed through buildings implantation/typology and landscaping as opposed to piping. The implantation and typology of the buildings (perpendicular to the slope, and “lifted” from the ground) let the water run down the mountain to the river to the east.


The other concerns that were prevailing for the main complex are also implemented in the design of the satellite hubs: maximized natural ventilation, shading, energy autonomy (PV system), flexibility and ease of construction (or transportation) with local materials and labor.

The dimensions and the autonomous design of those standalone devices allows them to be transported and placed in every remote area.


Main materials used in the Shaded Village project:
No VOC building products are used. The complex is built out of recycled (glass, tiles, painting) or sustainable – local building materials (bamboo, thatch and wood) using local labor to realize the design.

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