A design school for sustainable habitats and so much more. organizmo.org
16.01.2012 - 29.01.2012
First of all, every farm, finca, or rancho I have seen has a similar impressive gate to let the outside world know it is for real. Behind this gate is a surreal place more real than the rest.
Ana Maria Gutierrez and Itamar Sela are a young couple who have accomplished and experienced much in their thirty odd years of life. Born on opposite sides of the world (Itamar in Israel and Ana in Colombia) they met while traveling in India and went on to navigate the globe together. Ana studied architecture for three years at the prestigious Universidad de los Andes in Bogota and finished her degree at Parsons with a scholarship before doing post-graduate work at NYU. Meanwhile, Itamar completed the New York Botanical Gardens Landscape Design program and began work with a large city landscaping business. During this period Ana and Itamar married, partly to allow Itamar to remain in the country as his visa expired. A little over three years ago their daughter Illanna was born and the family left the city for Ana's parents old farmland outside of Bogota. While only 45 minutes by bus from the crowded metropolis, this valley of small pueblos and fertile farmland is pleasantly rural, quiet, and beautiful.
Here Itamar and Ana have begun their dream to create a place for education and experimentation with any and all techniques for sustainable building, growing, and living. In the past two years Organizmo has hosted architects, engineers, and builders who have led workshops on different construction methods. The results are a hay bale house, two indestructable earth domes, a wattle and daub bathroom complete with dry toilets and beautiful (but tedious to build) beer bottle shower. Ana and Itamar with the able help of their employees and students have added green roofs to these buildings (except the domes), built their own plastic bottle and plastered mud house (complete with its own green roof), and open air green roofed cob kitchen. This weekend the Climate Champions (recipients of a worldwide British program awarding individuals with exemplary environmental work) of Colombia have been provided a workshop here (Ana Maria was awarded the title of Climate Champion last year when she submitted the work of Organizmo) on plastering with lime and mud, composting, green roofs, green walls, building with adobe, and planting an herb garden.
Amy and I have been here for nearly two weeks now. We have eaten lots of delicious fruits and vegetables, had lime plaster eat our hands, worked a lot with mud, gotten sick, and walked many kilometers. It has been hard work and we are ready to see what comes next in our adventure but it has been inspiring to see what has been done and what will continue to grow here.
The greenhouse with adjacent hay bale construction green roofed bedroom/bathroom where Ana, Itamar, Illanna, and Asia (pronounced ah-see-uh in spanish) live, eat, and play.
An amazing all purpose space. Kitchen with adjacent herb green wall (brilliant!), low dining room table on crushed stone, raised wooden deck living room with overhead lounge area, large concrete wash area mostly used for children's play and bathing, grass sitting/yoga area and plants growing in the ground and pots everywhere!
Almost forgot the hammock area/sandbox playroom
The brightest rainbow I have ever seen occurred here the day before my birthday!
Amy and I hiked Jueca which overlooks this valley but that is for another post...