Colectivo Cimbra was initially conceived as an architecture student collective dedicated to helping vulnerable communities in rural areas of Colombia. My friends and me wanted to create a plataform on which we could analyze, design, create and build sustainable housing solutions for communities that don’t have access to the benefits of urban and architectural planning. We resorted to this measure because the curriculum in our university, like many others, had little to no space for these sort of approaches to contemporary architecture. We soon realized that students from other faculties where finding themselves in the same situation within their discipline, so Colectivo Cimbra could also become a platform for them to pursue a social approach in their work. By the time we finished university the team had archictecture, anthropology, political science, economy and business adminstration students working on the projects shown in the following pages. Nowadays Colectivo Cimbra is in the process of becoming a foundation as many of the original founders and new members of the team want to take a social stand in their professional work and careers. We think this sort of work is now more important and necessary than ever as Colombia tries to leave more than fifty years of inner conflict behind. Beyond social housing and commnity projects our primary and underlying goal is the construction of peace.
The following work is the result of the group effortts of: Javier Galindo, Sergio Carvajal, Alejando Orduz, Sebastián Galindo and many more who have contributed to CIMBRA’s work over the years.
The methodology that Colectivo Cimbra utilizes in its projects is heavily influenced by the idea that social projects benefit deeply from an interdisciplinary approach. The combination of different areas of knowledge in the asessment and development of a project can, in our opinion, create more sustainable solutions to social and architectural problematics. Each discipline has a different understanding of the concept of sustainability, and can therefore offer different insight when it comes to facing any sort of challenge. This mix of approaches can give a new and renewed perspective on issues that have proven historically difficult to face. The sustainability of the projects along time tends to be one of the main obstacles in this line of work, we believe that the creation of a participative work enviroment where we work side by side with the community in the analysis, design and construction process can be incredibly helpful for the development of sustainable solutions. The bridges bewtween different disciplines and between the commnunity and the organization are, without a doubt, at the core of what we do
Our first case-study was tha amazonian city of Mocoa, which suffered a natural castrophe that left thousands of people without a home. The analysis of the situation was initially based on the photographic and videographic documentation of the area affected by the disaster, a process that was crucial in the configuration of the first theorized strategies in emergency housing solutions that Colectivo Cimbra developed; a process that gave me the first ideas regarding the use of artistic media in architrectural research and analysis. This was the first approach to the type of projects that Colectivo Cimbra now works on, projects centered around the idea of architecture as a community empowerement tool in social and territorial development.
BOSQUES DE PAZ
After the research and documentation project of Mocoa, we begun working together with ‘Bosques de Paz’, an association of forcedly displaced victims of the armed conflict. The goal of this project is to help the community design and construct their settlement,and an agricultural and ecotouristic project within said settlement. With a participatory and interdisciplinary approach we seek to complement the local and architectural knowledge the commnunity has with other disciplines like anthropology, political science, design and economics. With this approach in conjunction with alliances with academics, professionals and local actors we hope to provide an integral, sustainable and dignifying solution to the needs of the community.