Founded in 2007 in Quito, Al Borde is led by architects Pascual Gangotena (1977), David Barragan (1981), Maria Luisa Borja (1984) and Esteban Benavides (1985). The collective focuses on the human dimension of space achieved through a minimal resort to available resources. Drawing on the "ordinary", they wish to expand the human condition engaging people and communities in the design process, questioning the subjection of architecture to bureaucracy and capital. In 2015 they were nominated for the Design of the Year Award at the Design Museum in London, while this year they figured in the official selection of the Venice Architecture Biennale (2016).
Al Borde faces the practice from its multiple complexities and finds the gaps in the system to operate. They mix it up without any embarrassment, resilient by nature and reluctant to the dogmas. Their way of thinking has been developed on daily basis with hands on work. They are quite far off from theory and highly attached to the local reality. Their projects are always seeking to enhance local development and have a high component of social innovation. Pablo Ramirez, a curator from Guatemala says that Al Borde is consistent in approaching architecture in the most human way possible with minimal resources, not as an excuse for their scarcity, but as an aesthetic and political resource in itself, placed on the border between art and architecture. Through various projects they generate dynamics of social interchange where people design from their own collective consciousness.
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