Rural housing, an old project made with modern techniques

CasaRústica, vivienda rural en Loja, Ecuador

CasaRústica is a small construction company located in the province of Loja in southern Ecuador that works using local technologies and building materials such as clay brick, stone, wood, bamboo, chonta, adobe, bahareque and mud. The company, which built rustic house in the rural sector, is led by Servio Burneo Valarezo, a native of the area civil engineer with extensive experience in the use of EcoMaterials.

Photos by Servio Burneo

Eng. Burneo work is not only aimed at the construction of housing but also to improve production techniques of building materials in the area. His work with small-scale brick producers has lead to increase the product quality, with smoother outer surfaces of the brick with a better finish, so, plastering or painting can be avoided. Also, he optimized the use of stone quarry instead of round river stone, which is now scarce. Servio optimized the mixture of mud and sand use for the improvement and economical reconstruction of housing in combination with timber. All these "rustic" techniques work in combination with iron and concrete and modern materials such as granite and sandstone.

CasaRústica, vivienda rural en Loja, Ecuador

Servio had his first contact with MCR tiles in Cuba, at the Center for the Study of Construction and Architecture Tropical, CECAT, the Cuban EcoSur partner. Later in Ecuador in a center of experimentation in Conocoto, near Quito, and finally purchased his TEVI MicroConcrete production unit in the city of Riobamba, Ecuador, headquarters of the EcoSur Ecuador Foundation.

The company CasaRústica was born in the small town of Vilcabamba, in 2004, as a support organization for tourism activities, building bars and cabanas with EcoMaterials. Subsequently, CasaRústica becomes a center of support and advice to projects of rural housing construction throughout the southern region of Ecuador.

According to Servio: "to build a house, especially in the rural sector, encourages local industry, generating workplaces and improves the economy. Looking back to the rural sector is betting on a sustainable economy, is addressing the problems in its origin, otherwise people will migrate to the big cities where problems never end "

Rusticasa, vivienda Rural en Loja, EcuadorServio said that, to live and work in Vilcabamba, has served as a laboratory to experiment, learn and improve rustic construction, since this small town is a powerful destination of rural tourism. It has many buildings of earth that support the culture and history, and increases its appeal. He tells us that the southern provinces of the country (Loja, Zamora and El Oro) have the particularity that near 40% of its inhabitants live in rural areas; they have resisted the temptation to leave the countryside. Since the new century has brought new communications technologies (mobile telephony, internet, satellite tv) and energy production (solar, wind), biodigesters, to live in the rural sector is more enjoyable than before.

Many foreign families have settled in the area for the benefits of the place, filling the field of new tenants to exchange and enrich their culture with experiences and skills with local people; they value the architecture and traditions; also require adobe or burnt clay bricks. Some master masons from neighboring, almost forgotten villages as Chantaco or Chuquiribamba, are now valued and sought after for their ancestral knowledge and they lead the building for foreigners, usually earth-made houses.

Our migrants, who left their land in recent decades, victims of the crisis and the abandonment of the countryside, they also want to improve their former homes or build a new one, or to invest in small businesses because they have plans to return. That has also increased demand for labor and building materials.

CasaRústica, vivienda rural en Loja, Ecuador

Burneo tells us that, unfortunately, there are a lot of impediments to local development and it never ends because of certain authorities who do not understand the development of the countryside and put all sorts of obstacles to stop its progress, especially tourism, who is seen as a "destructive and dangerous activity, generator of strange customs in the villagers, makes land expensive and destroys the local culture ". It is the case of a major, who was inviting farmers to enroll in housing programs in a near city, encouraging people to leave their land.

CasaRústica, in its efforts to improve rural housing, has contributed to the strengthening of the social weaving that once had the rural sector, through actions that improve the local economy; Burneo, its director, is convinced that the quality of rural life is better than the city; he explains that his experience gained over the last 10 years needs to be replicated throughout the country, where there are a lot to rescue and value. Says that he is willing to exchange experiences with communitary councils, associations, builders unions, universities and central government authorities, stating that "the policy of support and charity to the rural sector must change, otherwise, the need for housing in the large cities will spiral and will never end". For now, he is thinking in opening a CasaRústica branch in Quito to work on integral management projects for rural housing, but of course, he says, "there is nothing better than Vilcabamba".

To contact CasaRústica:

Ing. Servio Burneo Valarezo
Ave. Pio Jaramillo 20-67
Loja, Ecuador
Tel. 09.99390448 - 09.99110391 - 07.2583136
servioburneo (at)
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Víctor Martínez
Civil Engineer
MCR tiles, instruction, quality control, project management.


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