Home News & Stories Melton Fellows collaborate to construct ‘Sustainable and Ecological House’ with Mapuche Community

Melton Fellows collaborate to construct ‘Sustainable and Ecological House’ with Mapuche Community

Written by Melton Fellow Pablo Carillo
In conjunction with a renowned social organization called the Innova País Foundation, Melton Fellows were seen supporting the construction of ecological and sustainable housing, with 100% recyclable materials!

The project is under the direction of Industrial Civil Engineer Glenn Martinson, who has been working on the construction of greenhouses as an alternative solution for people who want to change their lifestyle and be aware of what goes into the construction of their homes.

“This idea helps solve the housing problem that is in our country, since it can perfectly be applied in families that need a home and, due to the low cost of these it would be possible to acquire a house of this type.”

Mr. Glenn during his life worked as an engineer in important companies in our country, later decided to change his lifestyle as he realized that in every daily action — we damage our ecosystem, in everything we build — we damage our environment since to generate construction materials there is a whole process of exploitation of raw materials. He dedicated himself to the construction of 100% sustainable homes, and visited many indigenous communities and soaked himself with the knowledge of construction with sustainable materials; as for example: in the Mapuche culture, very predominant in our country and with a lot of presence in our region, houses are built with the entrance to the north to take advantage of sunlight. This makes it energy efficient since the sun is used to heat the home and to have the most light in the day. Thus it also occupies recyclable materials such as wooden pallets, tires, dead wood, among others, and is filling it with disused plastic bottles. The bottles are fulfilling the work of insulating the house, then it is covered with a layer of mud and straw, which also fulfills a work of thermal and decorative insulation. Also, disused clothes and fabrics are used that serve as insulation, and recycled glass is used. Each material that is occupied is recycled, and the material that is not recycled such as wood, earth, that comes from the environment where the house will be built.

The house that we built is for a Mapuche family from the lower sector of Millahuín, belonging to the commune of Pitrufquén, 63 km from Temuco. The interesting thing about how this construction was managed is that the workforce is pure volunteering, and it should be noted that in the Mapuche culture when a house is built, all the people in their community or near the place go in cooperation with this family, denominating themselves this meeting in Mapudungun “Rukatun”, which means to perform unpaid community work.

May Garcés, Senior Fellow of the UFRO Campus comments:

“To participate in the building of a sustainable house made with trash, mud, discarded materials & alternative energies was a dream of mine since I was studying environmental studies and peacebuilding in Israel. I am deeply grateful and moved by this opportunity. We are creating a community with new organizations, serving a beautiful Mapuche family, the link between the environment and ourselves is strengthened and this directly impacts on our wellbeing. I love with the project and its potential for replication”.

We hope that these initiatives can be replicated again, as they are very useful and align with our mission of Global Citizenship!