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Society in Constuction Palomino: Rebuilding a Small Town in Rural Colombia


Faculty of Architecture and Design, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, PEI/Nuevos Territorios & Zoohaus


Palomino is a small town at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is home to Afro-Colombian and Kogui indigenous children. These minorities have suffered the most with Colombia’s blood-stained war and have been neglected basic rights, education and health. Palomino was once a violent and racially segregated area in Colombia with one of the highest numbers of child soldiers. Colombia is one the top three countries with most child soldiers, along with Burma and Uganda, having more than 11,000 child soldiers. (Child Soldiers, 2011) Today the community has been acting fervently to try and spark a transition to peace and put a halt to the ongoing internal armed conflict. In collaboration with community leaders, the students and teachers of the faculty of Architecture and Design at the Universidad Javeriana joined together to help carryout humanitarian aid through architecture and design, helping rebuild a better city.

Our project’s vision is to provide basic services, implement the importance of education while still respecting their native rites and to help build sustainable peace for future generations. Our team believes in constructing spaces as a way of generating change. Through the use of collective intelligence we can help solve Palomino’s neglected physical infrastructure and poor urban conditions, making a positive impact on the urban environment and living conditions of the community. The project’s architectural design blends indigenous and modern design elements and responds to the local climate, environment and public space.

One of the highlights of the project was the construction of a cultural center. This safe haven of free expression and education allows children to learn about sustainability while incorporating their native rites. The cultural center engages over 100 children daily to practice dance, drama and arts, strengthening their cultural identity. Through a variety of daily activities, we teach them to be dependent on one another, give back to the community and take ownership of their city. Children built a community vegetable garden, held a dance recital and played a football tournament, all of which integrated children of different ethnicities to work together as a team.

Through our project we actively engaged the local community in both the design and building-process giving them a sense of ownership and pride. We taught them effective use of local materials, moisture protection and bracing. This raised awareness about adequate use of resources, preservation and sustainability. The project will continue and serves as a model for other indigenous peoples or rural societies throughout Colombia and beyond. It showcases an effective investment on sustainable architecture that makes a significant difference on the children who will create Colombia’s future.


Palomino is a small town on the Caribbean coast in Colombia, on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The town is 70 kilometers east of Santa Marta and located on the main road that connects Riohacha. It is part of the municipality of Dibulla in the department of Guajira. Palomino’s population is situated between the rivers of Palomino and San Salvador and lives off of fishing and tourism. Its prime location makes it a place obliged of exchange between settlers and the indigenous peoples who live in the mountains.

Palomino could be considered a microcosm of the national reality. During the 1980s and 1990s the town was a place of conflict between guerrilla, paramilitary and drug traffickers who fought to gain control the area. Palomino’s colorful landscape and richness in natural resources makes it a primary location for the cultivation of illicit crops. The government has taken action against the growth illicit crops by fumigating the area by air with glifosfato and paraquat, causing severe environmental damage (Maldonado). This action has forced people in rural areas such as Palomino to migrate to cities to escape, increasing the number of internally displaced people, mostly affecting children. Almost 50 percent of the displaced people in Colombia are children belonging to “socially invisible” Afro-Colombian and Indian populations affected by the ongoing internal conflict. Many of these children end up becoming child soldiers. Colombia has more displaced persons than any other country except Sudan. (Lang, 2006). Colombia’s efforts to fight drug trafficking have resulted in security gains, but today Palomino is still stigmatized even though the presence of FARC and paramilitary groups has decreased.

Palomino has long suffered with human rights crisis, loss of cultural identity, intolerance, racial discrimination, lack of clear environmental policies, disappearance of fauna and flora, inefficiency and corruption of the government and abandonment of authorities and institutions. By far the worst though is the loss of trust in the resolution of conflict and acceptance of the problems that afflict them. The combination of all of these problems coupled with the fact that poverty is highly transmitted from one generation to the next is the main obstacle to the town’s sustainable rural development. Inhibiting its progress is the lack of access to social services, education, and skills training (Rural Poverty in Colombia, 2011).

Society in Construction

“Complex Problems require complex solutions”

The Palomino Society in Construction project began as an Eco-Social experiment in January of 2009. The Palomino community and indigenous representatives of the area asked for help by inviting the International Student Program - P.E.I. - of the Faculty of Architecture and Design of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota to support and collaborate with them to solve some of the problems that are presented in town. Through meetings in Bogota between the University’s directives, PEI and Palomino representatives, we laid out the foundations of the project and organized financial funding and support from national and international institutions. The project is the product of a collaborative effort of a diverse team of faculty and students partnering with a rural community to provide architectural and design guidance, leadership to help serve the community’s needs and improve the public realm.

We invited the Collective Intelligence team of Spain to join our project. They believe that it is sometimes necessary to put our minds together in order to solve complex problems such as the ones experienced in the town of Palomino (Salingaros). Collectively we can create the future and reach it in complex context (Salingaros). Every city, piece of urban fabric, and building is a product of emergence(Salingaros). This expresses the notion that a whole is more than the sum of its individual parts; urban and architectural components come together to create in the best instances a unity that takes on a "life" of its own (Salingaros). This is why we invited them to work on the project. We believe that Collective Intelligence builds synergy and their participation is the best way to tackle the problems of Palomino. An international organization brings a different thought process and new perspective to the program.

From an academic standpoint, the reasons to support the project are numerous. Small towns such as Palomino provide rich opportunities for architecture and design students to gain real world experience while developing problem solving and critical thinking skills and gaining the ability to articulate design strategies (Small Town Center). The faculty has an opportunity to carry out an expanded role in education, providing practical application of architecture and design theories. Palomino is a research led project that tests academic research, debate and analysis. The University benefits by strengthening and reinforcing its presence in the country and giving back to the community by helping solve major problems. Projects of greater social value such as ours create space for humanity to think about our country’s problems, and through a collective social process, improve the lives of the poor in many ways other than simply delivering physical assets.

In 2009, the International Student Program, PEI, directed by the architect Carlos Hernandez, initiated an investigation in Palomino to research the town’s conditions, evaluate the existing infrastructure and examine the existing urban fabric. Based on the findings from the investigation, PEI evaluated different low-cost/high-impact solutions to fit the community’s needs. It was evident in the investigation that Palomino’s community had been neglected and for years had to fend for themselves. Thus, it was important to establish trust and communicate with the locals, respecting their culture and empowering them. PEI’s aim was to build sustainable projects that respect the local culture and honor the environment and surroundings, delivering a low-cost valuable design that supports a higher quality of life. The projects’ focal points were set on the practices and principles of preservation and adaptive re-use keeping building methods simple and easy to learn, passing on knowledge and involving everyone in the community. Our intention is to build a city over time, a product of the collective intelligence of people acting together in spatial grouping (Salingaros). It is our aspiration to support the community raising awareness of the physical environment; ensuring knowledge transfer enables them to assume a leadership position to become self-sustaining. Our project is a test-bed for invocative self-building projects that hopefully will have a knock-on effect around Colombia and instigate development in rural communities.

Project Type

Urban Planning, Architecture, Design Strategy, Public Space/Gathering Space, Outdoor Spaces, Education Facility, Community Center and Sustainable Housing

Project Vision

The PEI/Palomino Society in Construction project challenges the culture of consumerism by leaving the metropolis and going where our work is needed and where the real problems of our country are experienced. We deliver innovative architecture and design to an underprivileged community especially focusing on children. Based on the skills developed throughout the project, students will become leaders addressing national problems with low-cost/high-impact solutions. We believe in constructing spaces as a way of generating change and help carryout humanitarian aid through architecture and design, rebuilding a better city. Our project’s vision is to provide basic services, implement the importance of education while still respecting the local’s native rites and to help build sustainable peace for future generations.

Project Mission

PEI/ Palomino Society in Construction is an eco-social project designed to make a positive impact on the neglected physical infrastructure and poor urban conditions in the town of Palomino, while developing future architecture and design leaders. By actively engaging the community and using Collective Intelligence, we improve the lives of the poor through building high impact/low cost small-scale projects, teaching them effective use of local resources and sustainability and giving them a sense of ownership and pride. The project helps strengthen the community’s cultural identity, rediscover their forgotten building traditions and blend indigenous and modern design elements that respond to the local environment. Students gain real world experience, develop problem solving and critical thinking skills, gain the ability to articulate design strategies and expand national pride. The project helps reinforce the University’s presence in the country and give back to the community by helping solve major problems.

Project Justification

The Palomino Community leaders asked for our help and collaboration presenting us with a rare and promising opportunity. A poor rural community that has been forgotten and that for generations has been poor invited PEI into their lives so that together we could build a better town for the future. Entering an age of unprecedented change, the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana wants to ensure that curriculums of all faculties prepare students for the future. The University is seeking a greater involvement in Colombia thereby ensuring that graduates enter the world with strong national values and the right tools to help solve our country’s problems. Our project engages our students and faculties with a local community to take the far-reaching actions that are vital to preserve neglected small towns and cultures. Our project is an ideal laboratory for investigation, experimentation, interdisciplinary work, with a real practical application and social reach. We believe that it is up to us to step into a leadership position on this situation and help our local communities. We have to act together, and we have to act now because together we can make a difference.

What impact has Globalization had on our students and are they ready to enter the world as the future leaders of architecture and design?

Bogota is a metropolis trying to be something that it is not; centuries of top-down urbanism have alienated and destroyed the city’s fabric. Architecture and poor city planning are turning Bogota into a global and homogenized place: one gigantic structure that ignores human-scale and destroys the identity of each neighborhood. Our architecture and design students grow up in Bogota enamored with large-scale projects and industrial high-tech glamour. They belong to a privileged group who on occasion has the opportunity to travel abroad over the summer to Miami. Students come back from these trips with ideas for high-rise buildings and contemporary architecture that is superficial and only visually attractive, made by big firms and costly high-tech characteristics. The New/Traditional Movement that began in Europe a couple of years ago has not arrived to Colombia yet. Our students want to work for big prestigious firms only caring about the money and lured by compensation. In short, they are wannabe starchitects. They want to build big bridges and highways and say “we want to design something that is big and attractive; we want our city to look like cities in the US with big shopping centers and import the US food chains. They like industrialization and have adopted the “International Style” constantly looking over their shoulder at countries with contemporary and gigantic structures trying to mimic them. Maybe some have heard teachers and the media talk about the Green Movement, but most really do not understand what the movement means nor could they apply it other than superficial fashion. Their Green Buildings try to mask the anti-nature qualities of anti-urban industrial shapes by designing inappropriate public spaces that are restrictive in nature. Our students ignore local adaptation and traditional techniques and want to stay away from the past just for the sake of no redoing what was done in the past. It’s their way of thinking they are contemporary and futuristic. They naively use deceptive techniques to repackage their products with sustainable vocabulary learned in class and misuse energy and science. We are creating eco-monsters who feed into the global consumerist and industrial system.

What do we need to do and why is our Project so important NOW?

In Bogota, globalization is a phenomenon that few architects and designers understand how it is truly changing their disciplines. Our faculty does not blindly endorse globalization in terms of architecture and design, but instead vows to be impartial, striving to liberate the students’ thought process and development. Through our program, we confront globalization through innovative ways promoting environmental and economic sustainability. The International Student Program- PEI- is a cutting-edge education program designed to meet and adapt to the changing architecture realities worldwide. We develop future architecture and design leaders who embrace multi-culturalism with a strong national pride, and who understand both Colombia and the world. PEI creates a space for students to collectively think about models created around the world and in metropolises like Bogota who have failed to respond to the changing environment. Such metropolises are centrally planned, energy wasteful, attempt to destroy the existing urban living fabric and demolish informal cities. Alternatively, we teach students to work on multiple scales with an integrated skill set, encouraging mixed-use urbanism, architecture and design responding to emergent needs and technologies. In a time of change we seek to make a transition from large-scale to human-scale projects reusing older traditional solutions in contemporary contexts. Improved education will teach students to appreciate their country and what it offers instead of trying to mimic other country’s cities.
The PEI/Palomino Society in Construction project challenges the culture of consumerism by leaving the metropolis and going where our work is needed and where the real problems of our country are experienced. It motivates students to think about national problems and come up with solutions that are low-cost/high-impact. This project succeeds by responding to the human scale, sourcing local materials and learning from traditional patterns. We teach students what they can learn from locals and what they can in turn teach, a rewarding process of collective intelligence. This experience challenges students to build an eco-city that is self-sufficient and where the application of new technologies will be combined with local techniques. Students leave the “Bogota Bubble” where they have been consumed and protected to a very poor environment that brings them down to earth and tests their critical thinking and problem solving skills. Many of the students that have already gone to Palomino to contribute in the project say that the experience opened their eyes in ways no other project could have and gave them a new perspective of architecture that seeks to balance man and nature.

Academic Standpoint

Students will become aware of the reality of the country and understand, respect and value differences in a world that is becoming more urbanized and homogenized each day. Through the project they learn to think about their heritage as a way of developing architectural and design solutions leaving a cultural footprint. Students gain real world experience by putting theoretical knowledge in to practice.

Faculty Standpoint

The project adds credibility to the program while the faculty is able to build a cross-disciplinary collaboration between locals and international organizations such as the Collective Intelligence Team and the Politecnico de Torino. The project helps address the question of how we can maintain regional diversity and meaning in architecture and design during a time of globalization and rapid urbanization. Lessons learned can lead to significant contributions and changes to the academic curriculum helping maintain a world-class education and global recognition.

University Standpoint

Through our project, the University accomplishes their mission by reinforcing its presence in Colombia and by contributing to the solution of major problems. The Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogota will carry out humanitarian aid deep in rural Colombia while instilling national values and cultural identity to all those involved. The project’s adaptive re-use and creative resource preservation is such an original and innovative way of tackling problems that students around the world will recognize our prestige and attend our projects.

Social Commitment

Palomino is a town suffering from extreme poverty and needing our help now more than ever. They have been abandoned by government and social institutions and find themselves highly vulnerable in a territory of conflict. The University, faculty, students and Collective Intelligence team fully commit to the development of the town and empowering locals with the knowledge to build success and self-sustainability. We promise to help the community to take pride in their heritage, rediscover their forgotten building traditions and foster social reintegration to give children a better future.


In October of 2009, after a number of meetings with Palomino’s Community Leaders, PEI presented a formal proposal for a project in the town of Palomino, Colombia to the Dean, Octavio Moreno Amaya, of the Faculty of Architecture and Design Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogota.

We in turn proposed an Eco-Social experiment where professors, students and locals would collaborate to build a Cultural Center for Children. Mid-way through the building process, the relationship between the locals and us flourished, and they asked us if we could come back and build two Dry Bathhouses.

As the project took shape we invited a group from Spain and one from Italy, Inteligencias Colectivas and Zoohaus, to collaborate in our project and hold a number of workshops with the community. This resulted in a series of small projects to help the community’s ordinary life and the Catalog of Collective Intelligence.

Our next part will be to build a children’s library, a children’s playground, a botanical garden and communal neighborhood vegetable gardens.


The overall objective of the project is to make a positive impact on the neglected physical infrastructure and poor urban conditions in the town of Palomino while developing future architecture and design leaders. We aim to empower the locals by involving them in the design process and teaching them building techniques so that they can take over the projects and continue on their own.

The specific objectives are to:

- Conduct a situational analysis of the community defining the social, economical, political and environmental factors. Identify key players and availability of local building resources.

- Engage community by holding meetings with key players and informational workshops for specific groups such as children, head of households and elders in order to assess their needs and give them 100% participation in every step of the project.

- Students develop solutions to the problems identified in the meetings with the community, and through a collective-decision making process, they materialize their project ideas by designing various options for a community center and dry bathhouses.

- Engage the community to collectively select the designs and materials from the students’ proposals on the community center and dry bathhouses.

- Recollect local available and adaptable materials, show and teach locals sustainability and help them locals to rediscover their forgotten building traditions by blending indigenous and modern design elements that respond to the local environment.

- Build a cultural center for 100 children who can attend daily as an afterschool educational activity to practice drama, dance and art. Design an open space for children to freely express themselves with an openness that permits inclusion of all groups. The center will act as a communal heart restoring solidarity among children of different ethnic groups.

- Build public dry bathhouses to improve sanitary conditions, create a community gathering center and has a lasting impact on the betterment of the community.

- Hold community workshops that teach recycling, natural resource preservation, economic sustainability and that promote the maintenance of a healthy and prosperous community.

- Build a children’s playground to encourage the development of public space, collective re-appropriation and reutilization of the town.

- Build a children’s library where children can learn to read.

- Create a botanical garden with the elder’s association to make them feel valued and respected, sharing centuries of knowledge of medicinal and local plants.

- Plant vegetable gardens that create edible landscapes, combat the problem of food scarcity, and promote social integration of adults and children.

Architectural and Design Strategy

Our architectural and design strategy used to accomplish our project’s objectives is a three-fold strategy. This strategy was derived from the situational analysis of the town of Palomino. First, to improve the town’s access to infrastructure and public services, we combine the design with the built form placing equal value on both in order to orient our project with the urban context of Palomino. We weave ourselves into the existing living fabric of the town nurturing ordinary life (Salingaros). This prevents the urban alienation of our projects and integrates them in a holistic way to the environment as well as making it emotionally and psychologically satisfying to the community.(Salingaros) Second, we use our project and infrastructure as an urban regulator, generating new attitudes and behavior towards public space. We generate change by making the locals fully participate in the decision-making process, increasing their voice. Third, we build our architecture and design projects based on the existing strengths of Palomino by recognizing, promoting and developing their cultural identity and heritage.
The bottom line is:
- We design a human-scale project that weaves itself into the fabric of the city and the local environment sustainably
- Integrate the project 100 percent with town’s citizens
- Design public collective projects that promote cultural identity and pride


The project’s method is collective intelligence, a process where every participant including locals are 100% involved in every step of the process. We plan to achieve our vision, mission and objectives in three phases which we will describe below from a teaching point of view. The first phase involves getting to know reality and establishing a database; the second phase is the planning and construction phase of the project in which we create solutions to the problems found in the first phase; and the third phase is reflection and editing. The project is actually a program with multiple small-scale projects which there is no foreseeable end as long as the community welcomes us and funding permits. Each workshop performs a cycle which includes all three phases. After the initial completion of the database in phase one, we reference and update the database revisiting the problems afflicting the town. We then plan and build an architectural construction that helps solve the town’s problem identified in the first phase. Lastly we reflect and edit our construction which wraps up the workshop.

First phase: getting to know reality and establishing a database

This first phase began in early October of 2009 with the key leaders of Palomino coming to us with a series of problems and concerns they were experiencing in town. We designed a workshop where students came up with collective solutions to their needs. The students were very excited to undertake the challenge and work as a cohesive group, thinking outside their comfort zone and leaving the consumerist metropolis. In fact, they even raised money among themselves feeling part-owners in the project. This reaction led us to design multiple workshops during the next academic year.

While students were learning in classrooms, the faculty was communicating with the government the need for a diagnostic assessment in the town of Palomino. This was highly required in order for our project to advance as no formal information existed on the Internet or in books except a few news articles occasionally referencing tragedies in the area. One of the faculty’s goals was to gather enough information to build a Wikipedia webpage to disseminate a much needed background of the town.

After the Government completed the diagnostic we verified the town’s problems and needs that they claimed existed and ensured that our creative solutions would be feasible. We wanted to set the tone that our project would require a joint venture where locals were required to actively participate in both the design and the building process getting their hands dirty. The diagnostic allowed us to understand the locals and break pre-conceived notions along with gaining a clear vision of their expectations.

The construction of the database allowed us to catalog the area’s shops and vendors where we could purchase and assess the availability of local resources. We also catalogued constructive elements, systems of work, local inventions and material adaptations. At the same time, we also contacted the teachers of the area to involve them as subject matter experts to show them respect so they would feel that we were under their direction. They gave us the key to their local building traditions and actively input their ideas including the design of prototypes. Lastly, we highlighted the most necessary and urgent problems that led into the planning and construction phase.

Second Phase: planning and construction of prototypes

After the database completion and problem identification, we conduct an assessment of the needs prioritizing and selecting the most urgent problem. The faculty plans a 60-student workshop that lasts 21 days, 15 of which are spent in Palomino building a prototype and holding community workshops. The workshop begins with students researching and proposing to the faculty a feasible design. The faculty then selects the top three designs, makes appropriate corrections and then presents it to the community. Through a collective selection process, the community selects the design and materials of the prototype. Faculty assists the community as a guide, helping the locals express their own vision and expectations. One faculty member during each workshop travels beforehand to help the locals collect the material and organize the town for the students arrival. After the community selects a design, the students work collectively to improve it, and the faculty builds a timeline, budget and creates a work-breakdown structure. The faculty must also coordinate with multiple agencies such as transportation, police escort, living accommodations and permits to name a few.

Once the students arrive there is an orientation on the first day to meet locals and familiarize themselves with the town. Early the next morning, students are divided into groups of five with 20 locals per group and one faculty professor as the head. Meetings are held at the beginning and end of each day where participants of each group briefs everyone on their progress. Groups rotate between construction of prototypes and construction of events. The group leader directs tasks impartially ensuring that everyone participates at all times and enforces the timeline. Specific descriptions are explained in detail in the section “Practical development”.

Finally after two weeks the project is 75% to 80% complete placing the responsibility of completion upon the locals. Our intent is to really give them the feeling of ownership and self-sustainability. The phase ends with the transfer of the project to the locals and the returning of students to Bogota.

Third Phase: reflection and editing

The third phase takes place in the classrooms of the Faculty of Architecture of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá. The members of Collective Intelligence team stay in Bogota for one more week after the completion of phase two. In this phase, we discuss lessons learned, how to improve and what to sustain. We edit the work performed, teach and explain it in detail and design a construction manual to allow this experience to be reconstructed. Additionally, we create a journal documenting the entire experience and process with dates and situations which allows the real experience to be understood and passed on. We talk about achieved objectives and ask students how they are more culturally aware.

To end with this phase, we plan all the possible ways to continue with the work and create an event in Bogota that serves as an exhibition to the University, inviting interested organizations and administrations. During the exhibition, we invite a few local people to speak about the projects and their importance. Finally, we hold a fund raiser and encourage the development of new partnerships.

Financial Information

The initial project’s budget was of $11 million Colombian pesos, granted by the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogota, which at the current exchange rate of March 27th, 2011 is $5,879.52 US Dollars. This amount was contracted to complete the research project and to pay for accommodation and flights of professors and distinguished researchers.

Since our project operates under the method of collective everything, we asked the students to hold a fundraiser and whatever amount they raised, the faculty would match it. The students and faculty raised among themselves $30,000 million Colombian pesos which is $16,035.06 US Dollars. This amount was used to fund the following objectives: erect a cultural center for children and two dry bathhouses, conduct urban interventions (catalogue of intelligences) and hold community events. Each family in the community was asked to donate five pieces of local materials they could either afford to buy, or they could come up with creative adaptive re-use of discarded material. Every new project cycle, including all three phases named above, will require financial participation of the students, faculty and Palomino Community.

We hope to finance the following projects by obtaining support from national and municipal government and/or non-profit organizations: children’s library, children’s playground, botanical gardens, and communal neighborhood vegetable gardens.

We financed the following operating expenses with a total budget of $ $16,035.06 US Dollars:
- Student Field trips to Palomino: covering transportation by bus, food and accommodation
- Local materials purchased in town
- Cost of local permits not exceeding more than 10% of the total budget
- Miscellaneous: meetings, renting space, projectors, computers and cell phones

Our financial strategy is flexible and long-term feasible for the University, students, faculty and locals. This project teaches locals to create a collective savings group for projects such as ours. In the future, we hope to see locals reinvesting in their community and its infrastructure.


- Go Local Campaign
- Hygiene Awareness Campaign
- Trash
- Grow Bamboo Campaign
- Local Stew – Cooking together
- Cultural Footprint Campaign
- Architectural and Design Workshop Back to Basics
- Football Tournament (Palomino World Cup): In South America football is an important part of culture, and it is one of the best vehicles for social change.

Current Project Status (March 2011)

As of March 2011, we have completed two architectural and design projects: a cultural center and two dry bathhouses. Our group left Palomino with both projects at a 75% completion level, as per our methodology. The local people took it upon themselves to complete the remaining 25% of both projects, signaling that our overarching intent is working successfully. Over 100 children attend the cultural center daily, and the community has taken upon itself to build transportable bleachers to watch children perform. The project really has changed the perception of the locals’ sense of community and prevented children from joining guerrilla groups. In collaboration with the Collective Intelligence team from Spain, we also completed 100% of 15 urban interventions which were designed for re-appropriation and reutilization of public space and to boost the local economy. Additionally, the locals have designed and initialized the cultivation of vegetable gardens. They have undertaken this project completely on their own freewill. We could not be happier with their bold initiatives and the results the program has yielded thus far.
Due to this current success and more specifically the profound effects that the cultural center has had on the children, we are planning our next project which is to construct a children’s library and a children’s playground. We are still communicating with local leaders, but we are on track to begin the workshop on April 2, 2011. We also forecast the following project to be a botanical garden that the local people would like to see as an expansion of their vegetable garden. It is possible that we could begin this project as early as April 2, 2011. Lastly, below is a list of all projects we have completed given the will of the people, the support of the University and budgetary allowance presented as a catalog.

Delivered Product Catalog of Collective Intelligences

Next, we present a detailed explanation of each of the projects done in Palomino in the form of a catalog of intelligences. Further information can be found at:

The Chevrolet kitchen

In Palomino houses do not have traditional kitchens since many houses do not even have electricity. The Chevrolet kitchens in Palomino are made out of metallic car tires on top of metallic legs and are placed in gardens outside. Coal can be thrown on top and used as a grill.

The cap-washer

In Palomino it is not easy to buy rivets for fabric, but it’s possible to give new uses to obsolete materials. The people use bottle caps from sodas as rivets to hold fabric against frames and prevent tears.

The stool plate

After noticing the people had a lack of chairs and places to sit, we manufactured stools by welding metal bar-legs to bicycle seats.

PET Technology

Students brought to Palomino a tool made by Re-fabrik used to extract thread from plastic soda bottles. In Palomino, a group of women collected plastic soda bottles, crushing them and then selling the plastic. They showed interest in learning how to extract thread, so we taught them along with the town’s artisan. We also showed them some other uses such as using it when making fabric.

PET tape and extracting Tool

We needed plastic tape that was sturdy and durable so we decided to recycle and reuse plastic soda bottles. In order to extract the tape from the plastic bottle, we invented a tool made of wood with a small slit and inserted blade. With this tool we were able to extract a long string of plastic from the soda bottle and use it as tape, usually yielding between 10 to 15 meters of length.

The 3 ½ Diary

Author: Re-Fabric
By reusing old abandoned computer diskettes, we transformed them into diaries and notebooks. We split the two sides of the diskette open, emptied the content, and then cut paper to the same dimensions of the two plastic pieces. Then one edge was pierced to place a spiral, resulting in a notebook. All the kids really loved it.

Folus Animus Ceruchus

For the few individuals who don’t have shoe laces, we demonstrated how to make shoe laces out of leaves.

Rocking chair made with plastic hooping

The elders in Palomino like spending their afternoon sitting on the sidewalk and watching people go by, and we wanted to make them comfortable rocking chairs. We worked together with Rogelio, the town’s artisan who helped us use plastic hooping to make the chairs more durable. He made an iron structure and weaved the plastic threads to make the seat. This made the chair more flexible and the elders loved it.

Fabric made using a palm tree

The roofs of traditional structures in Palomino are not waterproof. To address this need, we developed a roof cover made of palm tree leaves that repels water and keeps the homes from leaking. We elaborated on the original cover and made several different types.

Soccer field lines painter

The camp lines of the soccer field in Palomino are drawn with astonishing perfection. A wooden stick tied to a can with holes serves as dispenser of lime powder. The town’s referee, Junior, is the one in charge of painting the soccer field’s lines and even sponsors games by drawing in the middle of the field.

Construction review

The traditional form of construction in Palomino is perfectly suited for the climate, but the locals prefer western construction. Our goal is to teach and show them how to rekindle their traditional construction techniques and methods.

The candle and napkin wick

In certain neighborhoods there is no electricity and people use candles and oil lamps for illumination. Since they have a recycling mentality and saving culture, we decided to use leftover napkins from meals to make the wicks that light their lamps.

Coconut grinder with pedals

Many of the traditional Caribbean dishes contain coconut as the main ingredient, like coconut rice. To prepare such dishes, it is essential to shred the coconut with its shell. We created a tool using a bike pedal that shreds coconut precisely in that manner.

Purse made of plastic bags

By weaving thread and rolling plastic over itself, we duplicated complex indigenous patterns and made stylish purses out of recycled and fractal plastic bags.

Rogelio’s Cart

Carts are a gift in all of America. The town’s artisan, Rogelio, modifies carts by connecting a steering wheel and a bicycle chain system with three wheels. He adds an air horn as a final touch.

Billboard made out soda caps

Colombia consumes a great deal of soda resulting in a lot of leftover bottles and glass. To minimize waste, we joined metal caps together into very attractive signs and billboards. We used these signs to tackle the problem of poor signalization in town.

Fan flower pots

The vegetation of the town is exuberant and grows everywhere. At the same time, the people of Palomino feel a great love for plants and the vegetation that surrounds them. They surround themselves with flowers as much as possible, many hang up plants from their ceilings and use whatever they can find that holds water as flower pots.

Kitchen trashcan

The people that want bigger kitchens instead of the Chevrolet Kitchen construct their kitchens in metal barrels. They cut out one side, place a grill rack and fill it with coal or wood.

Wheelbarrow bathtub

When you don’t have the money to buy a consumer product, sometimes you just need to think outside of the box. For example, how can you improve sanitary conditions without running water or the means to buy a bathtub? Well, use an out of commission wheelbarrow as an ergonomic transportable bathtub. That’s at least what the people of Palomino do.

Table-exhibition-movie screen

Author:Students of PEI and Avilio [palm braided roof]
Location:Town Square
Dimensions:Approximately 2 meters high by 3 meters wide and 4 meters long
Material:Recycled wood and metal
Type:Exhibition table also used to support the movie screen
Intelligence:Using discarded materials to make a multi-use piece of furniture
Explanation:Students of PEI designed an urban piece of furniture that was made out of wood and could be used as an exhibition table, chalkboard or as a support for a movie screen. During our stay in Palomino, we developed the prototype using indigenous technologies and made a cover made out of braided palm. We made the furniture using discarded wood that we found at the local town carpenter. The carpenter donated the materials and tools. We used this table in different ways and in many of the events we organized.

Mobile Bleachers

Author:Zoohaus, students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI)
Location:Mobile in/around Palomino
Dimensions:Approximately 5 meters in length and 1.5 meters high
Material:Bamboo-cane, string, and rods
Type:Urban Event Support Apparatus
Intelligence:Adaptation of constructive techniques with natural material yielding a multi-use, mobile construction with the capacity to be moved to wherever it is needed.
Explanation:We decided to construct bleachers for the people in order to increase communal attendance and participation of events. Instead of building multiple bleachers for children’s performances, sporting events, movies, town hall meetings, etc, we decided to construct a mobile bleacher that could be moved from event to event. We made them light and easily transportable using abundant abandoned bamboo-cane. The bamboo was not in the best condition, but we were able to work with it, clean it and use it for the bleachers. After we left town, the people of Palomino have continued to fumigate the bleachers preventing termites or other infestations.

Net to Catch Coconuts

Author:Zoohaus, Quinto, students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI), people of Palomino
Location:Cultural Center
Dimensions:Between 5 and 6 meters in diameter and 4 meters high.
Material:Rope, string
Type:Net to catch coconuts
Intelligence:Rescue a technique of traditional braiding used among local fishermen and adapt it to braiding a net to catch coconuts that is attached to a palm tree
Explanation:Falling coconuts kill 150 people worldwide each year compared to only ten dying from shark attacks (George Burgess, Director of UF International Shark Attack). At the cultural center, there is a huge plot of land with palm trees that produce numerous edible coconuts which fall from a great height. Our objective was to construct a structure that prevented coconuts from falling on people’s heads, most notably the children while playing at the cultural center. We learned the methodology and construction of nets from the local fisherman, being trained to tie knots, optimize the rope and expand the diameter slowly while the net grows. We advanced this traditional braiding technique and applied it to a coconut net. For three days, people came and helped braid, working in pairs so that one would weave and the other would hold the rope. We weaved it on the ground, and once it reached six meters in diameter, we suspended it four meters in the air. Then we tightened it after tying it to the trees; hence, preventing coconuts from falling on children’s heads while they danced or played in the culture house.

Palominer Cooking Car

Author:Zoohaus, Cole [Palomino blacksmith], and Rogelio [Palomino artisan], students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI)
Location:Mobile object that would be kept at the Office of Civil Defense
Dimensions:Approximately 1.8 meters in length by 1 meter wide
Material:Metallic tires, metal barrel, structure made of iron, tires and plastic
Type:Mobile cooking cart
Intelligence:Domestic program taken to the public space by combining a unique design with the evolution of many intelligences
Explanation: The Office of Civil Defense (which specializes in human rights, social action and environmental protection) needed to raise extra income as the child population has grown, so we thought the creation of a mobile food car to sell local street foods in town would be a good way to generate revenue. The inspiration for our car was how local women make kitchens with tires and old pneumatics. We first found a structure of a car that would work for a body. Next, we recycled various tires that work as a grill, placing coal in the top part and then using a metal grill extracted from the back of a refrigerator to place food. Cole, the local blacksmith, helped fuse it all together. We then covered the car with waterproofing which Rogelio, the local artisan, used his system of fabric giving it a local design and color. Finally, we added drawers and containers made out of metal and painted them so they looked more attractive.

Chairs made out of PET thread

Author:Women’s group, Re-fabrik [fabrication of PET thread] and Rogelio [weaving the thread].
Location:Palomino, Guajira, Colombia
Dimensions:Approximately 40 x 80 x 80 cm
Material:Rocking chair’s structure made out of wood, the seat weaved with PET
Type:Household item
Intelligence:Textile made with new material using artisan techniques, local and traditional ways
Explanation:This was one of the prototypes that was developed during our research of PET technology. We involved the town’s women’s group and Rogelio, the local artisan and inventor. Rogelio has been building chairs for many years and works with all sorts of materials. When we arrived in town he was working on a chair trying to fix its wickerwork. We spoke with him and suggested he try using PET thread to fix the chair. He really loved the material and thought it was cheaper than wicker and easier to find. The result was positive, and it was one of the most important research projects we performed as it’s rising in popularity due to its socio-economic reasons.

Swing made out of PET thread

Author: Re-fabrik, Zoohaus, students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI), people of Palomino
Location: Town Square
Dimensions:Approximately 3 to 4 meters high
Material:Tire, rope, and PET tape
Type:Children’s public swing
Intelligence:Inventing a new process to make a rope using recycled materials
Explanation:Through the use of PET technology and recycling used tires, we constructed a swing so that children would come to the Town Square to ride in it. We placed PET tape across the tire to make a seat and then suspended it from a tree with rope. The tree we used we also think can be the center point to develop a future children’s playground. It was an immediate success. Through a very simple object, we could see the Town Square being transformed to many of the town’s children where eventually, in theory, they will associate happiness and permanent status with the Town Square.

Community Events-temporary urbanism

We created events to engage and motivate the local population with the goal of achieving social reintegration. Our project strategy fosters the concept of collective everything. We wanted locals to fully participate in the design and building processes. To motivate them and try to get to know them, we decided to hold numerous community events.

Radio Program

Author:Students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI), people of Palomino
Duration:Various days recording, 1 hour program
Material:Audio material
Intelligence:Working the urbanism from the information, involving users
Explanation:To date, we have not been able to create a full time community radio program. However, we were able to make a recorded program consisting of interviews of a great number of locals in the community. The people were able to voice their opinions of the Palomino project, and we broadcast the interviews through the university radio station in Bogota. First hand testimonials are often the greatest marketing tools.

Community local stew- sancocho

Author:Students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI), local cooks, people of Palomino
Place:Town Square
Duration:Sunday, all day
Typology: Urban event
Intelligence: Neighborhood involvement and collective management
Explanation: Sancocho is a soup made out of large pieces of meat and vegetables served in a broth. It has plantain, potato, yucca and is served with white rice. It is a traditional dish in Palomino and is an ideal dish to create in a collective manner. We contacted the community proposing a collective Sancocho luncheon. The community was responsible for the ingredients, and local expert cooks would help us with the preparation while the rest of the students would help build a communal dining space. The Sancocho had a great reception and really allowed us to get to know the different groups enjoying and sharing a meal together. We advertised the event using a megaphone and word of mouth inviting everybody in town.

Dance Performance

Author: Dance Group Palomino
Place:Palomino’s Town Square
Duration:Three hours
Type:Urban event
Intelligence:Transforming the urban space using the existing culture
Explanation:Palomino has a children’s dance group who constantly win all the regional competitions. Integrated by different teachers and children of ages 4-14, they persistently rehearse and work hard to make careful choreographies with native costumes and live music. Working with the dance teachers, we organized a dance performance in the town square that began with an exhibition and ended with everyone in the audience dancing. Children loved being stars for one night and enjoyed seeing their parents proud.

Outdoor movie event

Author:Zoohaus, students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI), people of Palomino
Location:Town square
Duration:3 hours
Type:Urban event
Intelligence:Transform the urban space through outreach programs
Explanation:Sometimes there are shootings by the gangs of drug traffickers in Palomino. Usually after such a shooting the town locks down and people remain in their homes for about a month. After we experienced such an event, we decided to take a proactive approach and have the people reclaim their town instead of living in fear. The very next day we decided to organize an outdoor movie event. That night, the plaza was filled with people who enjoyed a big screen film. It was a very simple structure, but it allowed us to construct a very important event and a powerful urban tool.

Community garbage collection

Author:Students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI), people of Palomino
Location:Town Square and the streets
Duration:Many times and many days
Type:Urban Event
Intelligence:Improving the infrastructure of the town and establishing efficient waste management
Explanation:One of the big problems the town has is there is no system of trash removal. There are no public trashcans, practically no working garbage dumps, and there is carelessness in the culture regarding dumping trash. Significant work needs to be done in this area both constructively and educationally. We needed to build a trash network while teaching the people to be more cognizant of the environment. We built a small network of red cubes in the town to ease the garbage collection and also developed a children’s workshop where we talked about recycling and garbage. We wanted to clean the streets and improve the town’s hygiene. We had a great reception.

Soccer world cup

Author:Junior, Zoohaus, students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI), people of Palomino
Location: Town’s soccer field
Duration:Two weekends
Type:Urban event
Intelligence:Transforming and improving public spaces
Explanation:In the Town Square there is an improvised soccer field, so during the World Cup last year, we thought it would be fun to have a World Cup of our own and integrate the children. We were able to work with the town’s referee, Junior, and organize a two-weekend tournament. We organized two teams: an adult team and a children’s team. We helped improve the soccer field by painting soccer lines, filling in holes and fixing the gates. We also added bleachers and improved the access roads to avoid floods. The event was a huge success, and the town was able to organize and experience a sporting event.

Architectural Constructions

Dry Bath House, Civil Defense

Author:Students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI)
Location:Undeveloped land plot belonging to the Civil Defense
Dimensions:Approximately 3 meters long, 3 meters high and 3 meters wide
Material:Wood structure, rod joints, roof of metallic sheet, plastic toilet bowl and urinal with water storage with the PVC ducts
Type: Collective infrastructure or sustainable sanitation
Intelligence:Taking advantage of the resources and improvement of resources as a combined program
Explanation:Civil Defense granted the lot of land for the public dry bathhouses and are also committed to managing the project. For the construction of the dry bathhouses, we created a wooded structure with a metallic cover and designed separate facilities for men and women. The dry bath house was 75 percent complete when we left Palomino leaving project for the locals to finish. Today the project is 100 percent complete.
Faced with the lack of sanitation and lack of water management, we proposed different solutions in different undeveloped land plots. We started working with the idea of making dry toilets which would reduce the necessity to create an aggressive sewage system or ditches that would eventually flood the area leading to health problems. Dry toilets separate solid waste from liquid improving the sanitation process. With about 6 months time, solid waste combined with sand or sawdust allows the waste to dry. The product is a natural fertilizer of superior quality. The separated urine can also be made into fertilizers or sold to laboratories for urea extraction. While the constructions do require a follow-up and maintenance, it is beneficial to the population as they need to gain awareness of sanitation and the problems being generated by poor practices. And it is a small price to pay compared to their previous method of going to the bathroom in the streets or in a bucket and throwing the waste anywhere without care.

Dry Bath House, Cultural Center

Author:Students and teachers of the International Student Program (PEI)
Location:Lot of land at Cultural Center
Dimensions:Approximately 8 meters long and 3 meters high
Material: Wood structure, rod unions and fabric cover
Type:Collective infrastructure of sustainable sanitation
Intelligence: Use of local resources and improvement of infrastructures as a combined program
Explanation:Another undeveloped land plot where we worked was the culture center donated by the Junta de Accion Comunal. This group assured the maintenance and the management of the dry bath and committed themselves to teaching the rest of the community how it worked. The bath is proposed as a productive sustainable enclosure built with a metal structure and to optimize the land plot. It is built in the same way as the other bath house but has a different wooden platform that responds to the lot’s soil conditions. In the main platform, we planned to place a washing facility for children with the intent of promoting hygiene and appropriate use of water. The roof cover is made with recycled plastic that is tied to the structure. The doors are made with fabric but when nailing the fabric to the structure it usually tears, so we decided to use metallic soda caps as washers that hold the fabric and prevent tears. The group Junta de Accion Comunal are committed to finish the roofs and the remaining enclosures.

Civil Defense Office

Author:Zoohaus, Students and Professors PEI, and Palomino community
Location:Palomino- Land lot of the Civil Defense
Dimensions:Approximately 10 meters long x 2.5 meters wide x 4.5 meters high
Material:Wooden platform and foundation, structure in bamboo and rod unions, covered with palm and braided plastic hoops
Type:Office and covered activity center
Intelligence:Use of local resources and material and the evolution of a traditional technology to achieve new models
Explanation:The Civil Defense is the public operational entity of the Colombian State with the mission of protecting human rights and preventing disasters caused by man or nature while protecting the environment. In Palomino, Civil Defense helps and organizes children and teenagers. The organization needed an office space to meet daily and store files safely. The office was designed as a continuation of the existing building located near the Town Square. For this construction we decided to propose a completely reversible system. The foundation was made with locally treated wood and a lifted platform with wooden beams and planks. The platform was lifted 10 cm off the ground to avoid flooding, dampness and moisture. The internal structure was built with discarded bamboo which we treated using the same method of the mobile bleachers. We duplicated the material by using horizontal pieces. The bamboo structure was supported with three beams united with rods that form the entrance. The cover had to respond to certain constraints. On one hand it needed height to allow access and on the other it needed big pendants so the construction system to work. Thirdly, the cover had to avoid the vegetation and trees that were already planted on the land. We were able to meet all of these requirements and select a structure made with two opposite hyperbolic curves running vertically with a 45 degree angle. We chose to use palm to make the roof and used a local subject matter expert in town, Avilio. Lastly, we worked with Rogelio designing the walls of the office and building metallic frames with braided plastic hoops. We ensured our construction and materials were waterproof, allowing ventilation and had a colorful and attractive look. The team left Palomino with the construction 75% complete, leaving it up to the locals to finish it. Avilio and Rogelio worked together to finish the roof and the frames. Today the office has been completed.

Cultural Center- Infrastructure, Cover and Stage

Author:Zoohaus, Students and Professors PEI, Palomino Community, and professional local laborers
Location: Lot of Land at the Cultural Center
Dimensions:15 meters long, 7 meters wide and 9 meters high
Material:Platform and foundation made of concrete, wooden structure and roof made with palm
Type:Architectural infrastructure for the dance group
Intelligence:Use of local resources and human knowledge working together to improve the construction and improve the traditional typologies.
Explanation: This safe haven of free expression and education allows children to learn about sustainability while incorporating their native rites. The cultural center engages over 100 children daily to practice dance, drama and arts, strengthening their cultural identity. Through a variety of daily activities we teach them to be dependent on each other, give back to the community and take ownership of their city; all of which integrated children of different ethnicities to work together as a team.
The junta of communal action donated the lot of land for the culture house. Since it was a cultural center for children, we decided to use many traditional building techniques that had been forgotten. We constructed various small-scale prototype models to explore the geometry and adjust the scale. Together we built wood structures, laid down a concrete foundation and used palms to make the roof. The land has lots of vegetation and beautiful views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is divided into two by an arc of trees and palms of impressive heights. In one of these palm trees is the coconut catching net. We decided to place the covered stage in the second part of the lot in order to have the view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the background. We chose a rectangular design for the stage and built bleachers out of bamboo. The design of the roof was an ambitious exercise to open the stage as much as possible linking it to the bleachers, all while experimenting with a complex geometry not used before and using palm in a new way. We used a similar building technique as the one used for the Civil Defense Office, by maintaining a 45 degree angle and waterproofing the material. We left the project 75% done leaving the concrete foundation, the main structure and the bleachers finished. The local community committed to finishing the cultural center. The Junta of Comunal Action has taken upon them to managing and up keeping the cultural center.

Human Network

During our project’s development we have expanded our human network. We built interdisciplinary partnerships and made valuable connections with the people of Palomino. Human network is a very important element of collective intelligence and lies at the core of our vision. The following is a list of all the human connections:

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá:

is a private higher education institution founded in 1623. It is one of the older and most traditional Colombian universities, directed by the Society of Jesus, with its main facilities in Bogotá. The Javeriana University in Bogotá has 18 Schools comprising 61 departments and 181 academic programs catering to different areas of knowledge, giving the university its multidisciplinary nature. The Javeriana University in the near future will mainly promote research and curricula-centered integral education; it will strengthen its interdisciplinary university nature and it will reinforce its presence in the country contributing to the solution of its major problems.


is an International Student Program of the Architecture and Design Faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá. The program was founded in 1996 and educates future architecture and design leaders by offering the opportunity for student to study different cultural environments. The program nurtures cultural differences by engaging in innovative research projects where they gain real-world experience, problem solving and critical thinking skills. It offers one-month workshops in the fall and spring semesters lasting approximately one month to countries such as Holland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Argentina and Chile. Over the year, we invite different architects, designers and artists who participate in conferences and short seminars. We are pathfinders to next architecture revolution challenging the ever dictating market forces and going where the real problems are. In 2006, the Academic Dean Octavio Moreno incorporated his vision and introduced several positive enhancements to the program, most notably applying an innovating series of proposals and methodologies and thereby making the program an international success.

Nuevos Territorios:

Based on the idea of internationalization and interdisciplinary fields of architecture, we have created an experimental academic space between students and professors which we call Nuevos Territorios. The objective is to observe, analyze, and interact with the contemporary city by doing transient projects or Critical Artifacts which allow the students to work together with the inhabitants of the city and to put into practice some of the theories and ideas that are presented and discussed in the classroom or workshops. We strive to project our Colombian ideas and methodologies to tackle difficult architectural and design problems on multiple scales while developing students with an integrated set of skills.

Academic Dean Octavio Moreno:

The Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Design of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. His support, guidance and collaboration has made PEI and our project possible.

Collective Intelligence Team:

Team from Spain that participates in a project called Inteligencia Colectiva 2.0 which is part of the multidisciplinary platform Zoohaus. It was formed in 2010 and creates catalogs of constructive non-standardized solutions.

Carlos Hernández:

Architect of the Universidad de los Andes and professor of projects in the Faculty of Architecture of the Universidad de los Andes with over 30 years of international experience in Design Architecture and Urban Planning. Professor of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogota since 1986. Director of the International Student Program “PEI” of the architecture and faculty of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana since 1996 to 2001, and later from 2003 to present.

Gabriel Enrique Leal:

Architect Master in Urban and Regional Planning at the Arquitecto Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Director of the research group Ecosistema Antrópicos. Expert and responsible for the project dry bathhouses.

Antonio Yemail-Oficina Informal:

Since the year 2007, the Oficina Informal works as an independent study of architecture, located in Bogota. The office faces diversity as a deep research that allows creative action. It also understands diversity as an extended measure (biology, culture, political, material) that defines the internal variety as a community/system.

Professors and Students PEI:

The rest of the professors of PEI as well as their support team. Each and every student has a total involvement in the Palomino project. The work environment in general contributed to a united team.

Distopia Lab. Luis Pimentel:

Final semester student of architecture from the Universidad de Zulia. Participant of the Distopia Lab. Worked with teachers and students from PEI and talked about the urban cartography to develop a general plan of town.


Group of architects and industrial designers in Bogota who work with obsolete technologies and materials and re-design and evolve them to give them new uses. Notebooks made out of floppy discs and the machine to extract thread out of PET, are some of their works.


See Collective Intelligence team

Community of Palomino:

The men and women of Palomino, their children who introduced us to their customs and traditions and let us in their lives. A great human group, of great quality who is willing to learn and continue making their city better.


Local artist of Palomino


Palomino fisherman who helps make nets, specifically helping with the construction of coconut nets


Palomino’s local blacksmith

Palomino ACCION Committee:

The committee of communal action in Palomino is directed by Wilson Enrique Rincones. The committee is an active group who is 100 percent on board with the transformation of their town. Thanks to them the culture house project was possible.

Civil Defense:

The civil defense is a group that works in all Colombia. They work very actively in Palomino searching to attract young children in town and involving them in community work to prevent them to become child soldiers.

Police Squad:

The political situation in town demanded that a group of the jungle police escort us during our stay in town. The group became involved in the project and collaborated in the construction of prototypes and participated in each one of the events.



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Corregimiento de Palomino, Municipio de Dibulla, Departamento de Guajira


Project Details

NAME: Society in Constuction Palomino: Rebuilding a Small Town in Rural Colombia
PROJECT LEAD: Facultad de Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá: PEI/Nuevos Territorios & Zoohaus
LOCATION: Corregimiento de Palomino, Municipio de Dibulla, Departamento de Guajira, Colombia
START DATE: July 29, 2009
CURRENT PHASE: In construction
COST: $15000 USD (Estimated)
PROJECT TYPE: Youth Center, Water treatment, Urban Planning, Toilet Block, Stadium/Sports Facility, Sewage Treatment, Sanitation/Public Service, Office Space, Landscapes/Parks/Outdoor Spaces, Education Facility - Day Care/Children’s Facility , Community Center
BENEFICIARIES: The Community of Palomino


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