Quiubox - A nomadic workshop

Quiubox - A nomadic workshop

Boano Prišmontas
Milan, Italy
Project Year

Quiubox - A nomadic workshop

Boano Prišmontas as Architects

The name Quiubox is a combination of the Colombian expression “¿Quiubo?”, meaning “what’s up”, “hello, what is happening”, and a “box”, referring to a small scale architectural object, a container of knowledge and activities.

Quiubox is a nomadic workshop, a project designed for the Afro-Colombian communities living in the coastal areas surrounding Cartagena. The project aims to tackle inequality by building bridges between professionals and ethnic communities in the Colombian Caribbean.

The Caribbean territory is beautiful and fragile. Vast portions of the coast are constantly facing floods due to the rising level of the sea. Afro-Colombian communities often live in disadvantaged areas, lacking of a vision and methods to face these tough new challenges. The local population usually builds houses directly on the sea shore, meaning that in the following years a huge number of dwellings will need to be relocated to safer areas.

Quiubox sees these challenges as an opportunity to work closely with the local population and actively involve them in the development of a strategy. Under a common shed roof, a workshop co-exists with a public gathering space. Here people can meet and learn through the processes of making. Quiubox will teach new ways to build, repair boats, produce local furniture. The aim is to develop and strengthen the sense of community and at the same time offer a vision to tackle the issues caused from climate change.

Quiubox sits on a floating platform to be able to move along the coast, from island to island, in the mangroves, and in the river communities. We estimate more than 40 villages can be reached and lots of knowledge can be shared.

Quiubox is a modular structure constructed out of CNC-machined plywood panels. The sheets are cut in the most efficient way avoiding material wastage. The modular structure is intended to be replicable and easy to assemble. Each module is built using dry joints that slot together without the aid of any additional fixing. In this way, Quiubox establishes a strong and permanent link between its shape and its inherent physical properties. The aesthetic look is dictated by this method of construction.

The facade typology combines the aesthetic of an iconic factory with shed roofs, with the round opening of a boat and the arches of a public lodge. This hybrid mix expresses all the functions and the ideas behind the Quiubox concept.

The roof is designed to host a series of photo-voltaic panels that can be used to power the tools of the workshop and provide electricity to the building. The public space inside can therefore be utilised not just as a sitting area, but also as a place for charging devices and connecting to the world through wireless internet. Moreover, the design of Quiubox will incorporate water collection and cleaning strategies that will provide local communities with portable water. All of these features are integrated in the design and at the same time clearly visible for educational purposes.

Quiubox aims to have a CNC workshop as its centrepiece. The advanced machinery will become a generator for the growth and the empowerment of the community, opening doors to a broad variety of local small-scale projects. The workshop will be used to build new houses, produce pieces to repair local informal settlements, as well as produce boats to re-introduce the fishing tradition in the area. Plywood is a versatile, lightweight yet strong material. It is easy to find, sustainable and reasonably affordable. The local community not only will gain new skills, but they will be actively involved in the crafting of their own future.

Quiubox has been exhibited at Milan Design Week 2017

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Project Credits
Product Spec Sheet

manufacturersCutting Edge CNC
Product Spec Sheet
IJburg College 2
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IJburg College 2

Secondary Schools
IJburg, Amsterdam, Netherlands - Build completed in 2016
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