Rehabilitation of the orphanage Elisa Andreoli, Oruro

The orphanage ”Hogar Elisa Andreoli” hosts socially marginalised boys and girls between 0 to 6 years old. The religious order “Serve di Maria” manages the structure supported by the Italian ONLUS “La Gotita Onlus”. The working, living and climate conditions of the site are extremely complex. The city of Oruro is sit-uated at approximately 3700 meters above sea level where the temperature range reaches 40 ° C during the day and -20 ° C at night. Conventional materials and construction techniques, considered ‘modern’ from the local community, react inadequately to the extreme climate of the Bolivian upland. In fact the majority of new constructions are built with inappropriate materials such as the corrugated metal for the roof and air-bricks for the vertical partitions, without any kind of insulation and finishing. This trend led to the unpleasant loss of vernacular construction techniques, that are no longer passed on from generation to generation, flattening the local cultural heritage and lowering the quality of living conditions. The orphanage existing structure is a typical example of this phenomenon. The precarious materials used and the little attention to details contributed to the structure’s decay, built twelve years before. Furthermore the complexity of the original geometry reduces the income of natural light in classrooms and corridors and is one of the major causes of rainwater infiltration. The structural decay, which extends across 1.500 m2 of the building, damaging major sections of the orphanage, compromised the quality, health and safety of it’s living spaces. Rainwater infiltration along the roof’s perimeter, contributed to the suspended ceiling’s rotting, damaging the already precarious electrical system and accelerating the floor’s decay. The project’s strategy revolved around the simplification of the geometry of the building, facilitating the construction of new roofing and reducing potential infiltrations. The project was realised in participation with a number of public and private institutions of the city of Oruro