Before the Feast, An Architectural Exploration of Foodways in El Salvador
Without being conscious of it, food marks our routines, gives identity to our cultures, traditions, etc. More than a physiological need, it is something that generates conversation and a sense of communion. However, current practices around food have focused primarily on massive, fast, and profit-making operations, overlooking the human aspects. Architecture and foodways influence each other. Based on this idea, this project explores the question on how architecture can help redesign foodways in order to improve the life quality of existing urban communities. By breaking the ideas that have taken root since industrialization like the dichotomy of city-countryside and the concept of infrastructure as something strictly functional, a new way of sustainable self-sufficiency can be achieved. With the objective of repositioning food production within the urban fabric of Santa Tecla, El Salvador, the project aims to build a cooperative of aquaponic growers, that develops in different phases. This is achieved by a modular construction. The complex consists of three basic units “Living”, “Consuming” and “Learning” that, as the cooperative grows, will increase the diversity of functions from housing to market stalls, workshops, and even a forum for public use. By understanding modularity as a way of self-expression, the inhabitants can exercise their own will, and a sense of community is created.
To achieve sustainable development, it is necessary to understand the power that lies within food control or food self-sufficiency. That is way this proposal seeks to re-humanize the food infrastructure, considering it as an instrument for social self-determination, and in this way also preserving the joy that comes from sitting together around a table and enjoying a good feast.