HUSOS with Francisco Amaro (Biologist)

Bioclimatic Prototype of a HOST AND NECTAR GARDEN BUILDING –GBHNPCB– and actions to promote non-anthropocentric gardening initiatives.

images of the GBHNPCB
pictures of the garden

This project has been underway for more than a decade and has involved the design and construction of a bioclimatic building in the centre of the city of Cali, as well as the subsequent management of various actions to promote environmental care activities among people visiting it. The building is a Host and Nectar Garden Building (EJHNMC, in its Spanish acronym) that includes households and work areas. It was originally conceived as a building for Taller Croquis, a small workshop specialising in clothing and decoration items in Cali which was branching out through a myriad of small distribution points around the world. The green façade provides a comfortable microclimate within the building, reduces energy consumption and is a prototype for a welcoming domestic garden for all the insects and birds in the area, which rely on a network of biological corridors to move around.

This is achieved by means of two different actions:
The first one involves using bushes and climbing plants from the local ecosystem (mainly nectar and host plants for butterflies) which are also part of the habitat for birds and other local insect species. The building uses the presence of butterflies as a biometer to gauge the quality of the environment and lend visibility to the unique value of the biodiverse ecosystem where it is built. Butterflies are generally one of the most effective indicators of an ecosystem’s quality and biodiversity, and they are especially important in this area, that is home to the greatest diversity of butterflies in the world.

The second action ran in parallel to the design of the building-garden and was developed with the assistance of biologists, of the Cali zoo and the textile atelier during the years that it was established in the building: it involved encouraging and supporting the dissemination of information about the importance of the natural singularity of Cali within the world and, in short, to contribute to the strengthening of affective bonds between the Caleños visiting the shop and their natural environment. The dissemination activities included handing seeds and brochures to the visitors of the building and organising workshops for neighbourhood children.

The purpose of these actions was to contribute to the preservation of the biological corridors within the city, encouraging those receiving the seeds to plant them on their balconies, front gardens and patios.

The design and management of the building-garden has allowed the garden to work as a set of different affective media devices aimed to strengthen the symbiotic relationships between the house-workshop and its environment, acknowledged as entities operating on different scales and though different mediations.

The social and natural processes occurring therein over time have turned it into an architectural micro laboratory for approaching some of the dynamics and temporalities of the city’s ‘biological component’.

Clients: Taller Croquis (Isadora García and Margarita Yepes) / Collaborators: Juan Pablo Arias, Antonio Cobo, Ana González, Junko Watanabe / Construction phase 1: Luis A. Ramirez Architect / Construction phase 2: Camilo García.
Steel structure: Jorge Mejía Engineer / Soap operas video edition: Osmandy Fuentes (Musician and multimedia technician)
Photography: Javier García, Sylvia Patiño, Manuel Salinas. / Acknowledgments: Fundación Zoológico de Cali, Douglas Laing (Agronomical Engineer specialist in tropical agriculture), Lorena Ramírez (Biologist. Universidad del Valle. Colombia), Luis M. Constantino (Biologist Entomologist, Ms.C, Associate Researcher National Centre for Investigations in Coffe. Cenicafé. Chinchiná), Ricardo A. Claro (Biologist Entomologist. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Colombia), José Martín Cano (Biologist Entomologist. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), María García and Julián Velásquez.