Cayo Crasquí Ecological Tourism Camp
1991-93 – Cayo Crasquí Ecological Tourism Camp
Cayo Crasquí, Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela
Site Area: 30,000-m2
 
Awards: International Grand Prize at the IX Panamerican Biennial of Architecture of Quito, Ecuador, 1994.
Exhibited at: “Homo Ecologicus, Towards a Culture of Sustainability” exhibition at the Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona, Spain, 1996; and, the I Ibero-American Biennial of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Finalist Projects 1993/98, Madrid, Spain, 1998, Book of Biennial by Ed. Electa.
Published in: Lotus Magazine 105 “Archittetura Povera” Electa Editrice, Milano, Italy, 2001; 2G Magazine # 8 “Latin-American Architecture, a new generation". Ed. Gustavo Gili. Madrid. Spain, 1998; Design Book Review Magazine # 37/38 By California College of Arts and Crafts, Berkeley, CA – USA, 1997; Book “International Yearbook Award Winning Architecture”. Ed. Architektur Optimal. Pub. Prestel Munich-New York, 1996; Escala Magazine # 168 “Tourism”, Bogotá, Colombia, 1995.
 
Key Collaborators:
Chief Architect: Jorge Rigamonti
Collaborating Architects: Carmen Marquina, Luis Cediel and Lino Becerra
Construction Contractor: Rigamonti & Associates C.A. 
Structural Engineering: Francisco Niubo 
Electrical Engineering: Sergio Popoli
Plumbing Engineering: Domingo Sorrentino
Mechanical Engineering: Rafael Salcedo
Landscaping: José Pojan 
Interior Design: Helena Correa Rigamonti
 
Synopsis
 
Located in a key of coral origin in the center of the Los Roques Archipelago, the camp was designed to allow tourists to enjoy the place and spend the night, without adversely affecting the extraordinary natural surroundings. The project implements provisional architecture of great simplicity and low environmental impact, built from biodegradable materials, wood and canvases, and using traditional methods of assembly.
 
The permanent buildings were located in the gaps left by the existing sand mangroves, to take advantage of the views and airstreams, while also enabling servicing and giving privacy to the 25 tents that surround them. The tents were designed to withstand high winds, are removable, and are composed of double tops, double canvas walls, and wooden venetian blind doors and adjustable windows, providing good cover from the sun, ventilation, and optimal natural climatic comfort both during the day and at night.
 
The campsite generates its own electricity and desalinated water. Bio-trickling filters, composed of large coral stone cylinders, treat wastewater. The treated water is then used for irrigation of the surrounding vegetation (which is totally native). The roofs of the permanent buildings allow collecting rainwater into underground tanks, for use in case of emergencies.
 
This project represented the first planned attempt to achieve an architectural insertion that is both modern and sensible to nature, in a national park in Venezuela. The ancient Arabic and Chinese nomad tents and the temporary housings of the first inhabitants of the archipelago, the "Caribes" Indians, were inspiring elements to create a sustainable development, that combines a habitat of greater ecological respect with the limited but unprejudiced use of modern technologies.
 
Five permanent buildings integrated the project: the “main module” (with reception, administration, restaurant, nursing, other services, and 8 rooms with bathroom), the “beach module” (with cafeteria, and restrooms with showers and changing rooms), the “employees module” (with rooms, warehouses and toilets), the “ecological module” (with a workshop, a lecture room, an exhibition space, a rangers room, and an information office), and the “service module” (with power plants, and plants for desalination and wastewater treatment). Of these buildings all except the “main module” were built, along with the 25 tents. The camp operated open to the public from 1993 to 1996 when it ceased to operate having been part of the assets intervened by FOGADE (Bank Deposits Social Protection Fund) following the Venezuelan banking crisis of 1994.
 
Sinopsis (En Español) - Campamento turístico y ecológico Cayo Crasquí
 
Ubicado en un cayo de origen coralino, en el centro del Archipiélago de Los Roques, el campamento fue ideado para permitir al turista disfrutar y pernoctar, sin afectar mayormente la extraordinaria naturaleza circundante. Se realizó una arquitectura provisional, de la mayor sencillez, de bajo impacto ambiental, construida con materiales biodegradables, maderas y lonas y métodos constructivos artesanales.

Las edificaciones fijas se ubicaron en los intersticios que dejan los existentes manglares de arena, para aprovechar las vistas y las corrientes de aire, y a la vez dar servicio y privacidad a las 25 carpas que las rodean.  Las carpas fueron diseñadas para soportar fuertes vientos, son desmontables, y están compuestas de techos dobles, paredes de lona dobles, y puertas y ventanas graduables de romanilla de madera, que proporcionan una generosa sombra y ventilación, y hacen posible un óptimo confort climático natural tanto diurno como nocturno.

El campamento genera su propia electricidad y agua potable desalinizada. El agua servida es tratada mediante bio-percoladores, formados por grandes cilindros de piedra coralina, y luego es usada para el riego de la vegetación que es totalmente autóctona. Los techos de las edificaciones fijas permiten recoger las aguas de lluvia en tanques subterráneos, para eventuales emergencias.

Este proyecto representó el primer intento planificado de lograr una inserción de arquitectónica moderna y sensible a la naturaleza en los parques nacionales venezolanos. 
La tienda ancestral del nómada árabe y chino y la vivienda temporal de los primeros habitantes del archipiélago, los indios "caribes", fueron elementos inspiradores para crear esta reflexión sobre un desarrollo sustentable, mediante un hábitat de mayor respeto ecológico y un uso limitado pero sin prejuicios de las tecnologías actuales.

Cinco edificaciones fijas integraban el proyecto: el “módulo principal” (con recepción, administración, restaurante, enfermería, otros servicios, y 8 habitaciones con baño), el “módulo de playa” (con cafetería, y sanitarios con duchas y vestuarios), el “módulo de empleados” (con habitaciones, almacenes y sanitarios), el “módulo ecológico” (con salón de charlas y exposición, habitación de guardaparques, y oficina de información), y el “módulo de servicio” (con plantas eléctricas, desalinizadoras, y de tratamiento de aguas servidas). De estas edificaciones, todas a excepción del “módulo principal”, fueron construidas, junto a las 25 carpas. El campamento operó abierto al público de 1993 a 1996 cuando cesó sus operaciones por formar parte de las propiedades intervenidas por FOGADE (Fondo de Protección Social de los Depósitos Bancarios) luego de la crisis bancaria venezolana de 1994.
View of a rainbow, the Beach Module (which houses the cafeteria and restrooms) and the tents
View of the tents from the Beach Module's cafeteria at sunset
View of the tents and the local sand mangroves
View of the camp site from the sea - The Service Module is shown at the left, and the Beach Module is shown at the center
View of the Beach Module from behind
View of the Beach Module from the front (beach side)
View from the Beach Module's cafeteria overlooking the Caribbean Sea
View of the tent's interior (only biodegradable materials are used)
Aerial north view of Cayo Crasqui and the camp site
Aerial west view of Cayo Crasqui and the camp site
Site Plan Drawing of the Camp showing: 1. Pier, 2. Main Module, 3. Observation Tower, 4. Tents, 5. Beach, 6. Beach Module, 7. Employee's Module, 8. Ecological Module, and 9. Service Module
Floor Plan and Front Elevation Drawings of the Main Module
Cayo Crasquí Ecological Tourism Camp
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Cayo Crasquí Ecological Tourism Camp

1991-93 – Cayo Crasquí Ecological Tourism Camp Cayo Crasquí, Los Roques Archipelago National Park, Venezuela Site Area: 30,000 m2
35
1407
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Published:

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