Zacatitos: Tactical Excavations

Every year, during the 3 month long rainy season in Baja, the client faced flooding in her home caused by storm water runoff from the adjacent slope on the terrain. The project’s initial request was a low cost solution to prevent this flooding in the house during the rains.

The project was based on the following premise: The intervention should not consume but produce. Ironically, this was obtained by deconstructing, excavating, and generating a void, instead of the construction, extrusion, and/or construction of an object or device.

By analyzing the conditions of topography and behavior of natural systems we chose to avoid the construction of (artificial) architectural elements as a solution to a problem generated by the initial lack of understanding of the performance of a pre-existing ecosystem. In this case a desert ecosystem endemic to the region of Zacatitos in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

A series of strategic excavations were proposed to contain water runoff from the site’s topography, while these excavations were also intended to reactivate the ground, through permaculture techniques as fertile bands of vegetation for domestic use.

Small gestures can translate into big changes.