Another ribbon sacrified in San Pedro Apóstol

Another ribbon sacrified in San Pedro Apóstol

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Jan 09, 2014
  • comments

In the smallish town of San Pedro Apóstol, Mexico (Oaxaca state), another Nike Gamechangers grant recipient took the sport of building to the extreme. The design-build team, led by root studio, has been working with students, the municipality and community members for three years – hosting natural building workshops and training that led to the ultimate design and construction of the rural sports center.

Project Information

Design + Construction Team 

Rootstudio _ Joao Boto Caeiro _ Fulvio Capurso ​

Blaanc Borderless Architecture

Municipality of San Pedro Apóstol


Nike Gamechangers

Root Studio

Fundacion Harp Helú Oaxaca

Oaxaca State Government Sr.

Noe, a resident of San Pedro

Home Runs Banamex

Agromod (bamboo)


1 locker room, bath and infirmary

1 storage area for sport material kayaks, equipment, etc 1 shade structure for community meetings, social gatherings and respite

the building blocks, in building form the Mystery Machine and shade structure

Sports Infrastructure created:

1 playground with repurposed materials

1 small football pitch

1 large football pitch

1 football training area

1 basketball court

1 outside gym

1 dock for the kayaks and water access

I’d probably work out more if this were my view game on the dock

Sustainable Landscaping:

Over 500 native trees/plants on the site

 drought tolerant landscaping

Natural Building:

The design team trained builders in indigenous building techniques, using local materials and resources. The team also provided innovative technical guidance by learning from traditional methods. These workshops were so effective that some local community members, used to building with concrete, incorporated the natural building lessons in their own homes. 

When the project commenced, Rene, a farmer from the village, started to build his house with concrete block. However, after seeing the process and understanding the potential and beneficial properties of these natural materials, he opted for a rammed earth wall in his bedroom to benefit from its thermal properties (the wall where the incidence of the sun is strongest). According to Rene, the rammed earth wall has a natural and aesthetically pleasing quality. We like it too.

Good influence spreads! Mary and Juan Hipolito also decided to build their house using lessons learned during the construction of the Sports Center. The foundations were made with stone fixed with lime and sand and adobe walls. The mixed earth contained fibers of Maguey resulting in “adobes con bigodes”, as Juan calls it. To protect from erosion, a typical system from Oaxaca was employed that consists of mixing pieces of stone in the earth plaster between the adobes, at least 10 cm inside. According to the elders, this causes the water drops to disperse enabling the capillaries/joints in the adobe to diffuse the water instead of absorbing it which can limit the materials strength.

This project is a wonderful example of how one building done well, with an inclusive construction process can influence a whole community and have a large impact.