“Palenque Cultural Tambillo” is a cultural center dedicated to the continuing artistic traditions of the Afroecuadorean town of Tambillo and its nationally renowned travelling marimba music and dance troupe Incrustados en el Manglar. This group provides an intergenerational link for the transmission of the oral and physical history of the town of Tambillo, allowing children of all ages a safe space to develop strong identities based in an awareness of their personal and cultural heritage.
As part of a larger investigation of Afro-ecuadorean culture, its musical traditions and its present challenges, The Ochún Foundation, Caá Porá Architects and Siete86 Architects identified the town of Tambillo as an ideal place to begin the pilot program of “Palenques Culturales”. The “Palenques” project is dedicated to the creation of a network of cultural centers in communities that form part of the “region of the marimba” in the province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. This cultural region was recently inscribed in 2015 as a part of the UNESCO list of the intangible heritage of humanity. (unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/marimba-music-traditional-chants-and-dances-from-the-colombia-south-pacific-region-and-esmeraldas-province-of-ecuador-01099) These celebrated traditions are at risk because of intra-generational learning gaps, immigration and other social factors.
The offices of Caá Porá, Siete86 and Ingeniera Alternativa began a process of a participatory research and design workshops with the community of Tambillo in October of 2015. These workshops have resulted in the design of a cultural complex composed of: a large performance and meeting hall, two multi-use classrooms and rehearsal spaces, an artisanal workshop for the fabrication of instruments and a block of public bathrooms using ecologically friendly water systems. These spaces have been designed taking into account the needs of the cultural group, the community infrastructure issues and the development of easily replicable construction technology for the future development of the community.