The pre-design phase in the post-catastrophe intervention process. The case of Chamanga, Ecuador

Article published in Bitácora Urbano Territorial (ISSN 0124-7913), 33-3, pp. 95-108. (authors: Daniele Rocchio, Débora Domingo Calabuig).

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This article examines the concept of pre-design as a preliminary phase of a research-by-design methodology. The aim is to reveal the importance of this first stage in the development of an architectural project process and to provide new information on the relationships that occur with the rest of the design phases and, ultimately, with the final design result. The research is carried out experimentally through on-site action in a post-disaster environment. The case study took place in the town of Chamanga, Ecuador, after the seismic event of 2016, which required a reconstruction process. The situation was conducive to applying pre-design methods and reflecting on the results. The research results highlight the importance of establishing the criteria for action and how these must be selected based on successive ‘observation-projection’ iterations. It also shows how the pre-design is already a determining part of the final design due to the decisions taken during the process. This research contributes to identifying the variables and characteristics of a pre-design phase and provides new insights into understanding the architectural project as a research process.