- Sustainable Architecture
- DECK restaurant by RAMA Estudio, a LEED-certified restaurant
The Ekopark complex is a centre of excellence consisting of five mixed-use towers and is strategically located between Simon Bolivar Avenue and Nayon Avenue, the main entrance to the city of Quito. The last two towers were completed in 2017 and Tower no 4 is the only one in the complex with LEED certification LEED certification. It is also the location for the DECK restaurant, designed and built by RAMA Estudio, , a team of young Ecuadorian architects and builders who are very mindful of sustainability.
The challenge was to craft a dining room in a 290-square-metre area, 70% of which was below ground level, which meant there was very little daylight or ventilation. A sociable venue for workers in the tower that is also open to the general public, with an expected throughput of 400-600 people throughout the day, and that could also host other activities.
RAMA Estudio analysed the users in order to develop appropriate architectural responses: 35 is the average age of users and most of them are employed by large companies based in the tower. However, the space also caters to other people since one of the campuses of the University of the Americas is located near the tower.
So the designers built a grandstand that fulfils three functions: dining room, seating for events and storage space. This practical item gives a new perspective of the space and makes it look bigger.
In addition, three other areas were also proposed: lounge, bar and dining tables. Apart from the grandstand, each piece of furniture is freestanding and easy to move, in order to make the space as flexible as possible, creating room for cultural events, business conferences and events, and academic activities of the nearby university.
In the project, RAMA Estudio adhered to LEED certification requirements, which actually correspond to the studio's philosophy. The architects eliminated all non-essential coverings, something the centre's building contractor already followed. There are no false ceilings, paints or decorations, except for the foot traffic surfaces that were sealed for protection and to ensure their durability. The RAMA Estudio architects minimised the materials restricting them to plywood and different formats of natural black metal for the furniture. All of this material was sourced from national suppliers and made by Ecuadorian workers. The same concept was applied for the efficient production systems: with the goal of optimising the use of the materials as much as possible, the whole decor design was crafted to minimise waste, reduce manufacturing times and limit transport and handling of the parts. The visible system installations are aesthetically attractive and facilitate maintenance. The also meet LEED criteria. LED lights are controlled in 20 different circuits to optimise lighting. Plants and bespoke signage are a feature of the restaurant, where the industrial yellow colour gives the project an urban character and there is no plastic at all.
With DECK, RAMA Estudio once again proves that you don't need a huge budget to craft sustainable designs because when you're creative and you know how to build, like this team, then you can aim high.
Architecture project: RAMA Estudio
Costruction: RAMA Estudio
Locaton: Quito, Ecuador
Images: JAG estudio, Alejandra Rea and Dany Herrera