Fostering co-creation and innovation providing a space for culture and collaboration: a win-win formula
At Uribe Schwarzkopf, our greatest aim is to create a legacy of improving the quality of lives for our neighbours across the city.
As a developer, it is key to understand that building a project does not only create a new community among residents, but it alters and impacts the surrounding neighborhood.
Ensuring that building projects always improve the neighborhoods they join is the best way to solidify the success of future developments, and solidify your spot as a welcome addition to life in the city.
For this reason, when we undertake building projects, we don’t only look at how to develop the land we are building on, but how to embrace and support the broader success of the existing community we are entering into.
For many people, the relationship between the cultural industries, architecture, design, and a development firm like Uribe Schwarzkopf is not immediately apparent — in many places around the world, developers are seen as following culture and opportunity rather than creating it.
However, especially in Quito, Ecuador, where we are based, there are many things that unite these fields: a passion for creativity and design, a desire to build community, a focus on the experience at the center of our work, and the role we play in promoting healthy urbanism.
For this reason, it has been our view that the support of entrepreneurs and creative entrepreneurs is central to our mission, and creating space and opportunity for them to work is a key focus of our mission as we develop across the city.
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In recent years, as our city has grown and businesses across sectors have begun to flourish, it has become clear that cultural, co-working and innovation spaces are key contributors to quality of life both for residents and visitors. The more that creatives are brought together across disciplines, the more we see dynamic space and experiences, collaborations, and unique cultural offerings. We also see the development of a community and voice that is uniquely local and resonant, which appeals both to people living in the city, and provides an authentic experience for those visiting the city.
That vibrant essence that makes cities great to live and to visit should always be in a dynamic constant improvement, developers and architects play a key role to contribute to the future of these principles. The spirit and soul of the neighborhood should always be part of every development.
As a real estate developer, it is important to think of the bigger picture here — people live in cities, and their homes are in buildings. A more dynamic city and urban experience adds immense value to development, and supporting the independent growth of these areas is a longterm project, but one that provides independent benefit for those with offices and homes in our buildings and well beyond.
With this in mind, we have undertaken different initiatives to support culture and the creative economy in Quito, ranging from sponsorships to different events and cultural spaces, to processes of urban revitalization and creation of co-working spaces.
El Pobre Diablo: preserving the creative and innovative spirit of Quito
In 2018, Uribe Schwarzkopf undertook the rehabilitation and revitalization of the epicenter of Quito’s creative economy, El Pobre Diablo. This space, previously a coffee factory from the 1950s, became a jazz club and bar in named El Pobre Diablo, quickly establishing itself as one of the most vibrant cultural hubs in the city.
For years, the space was a platform for live music, local gastronomy and art, and a key meeting point for artists, designers, musicians, politicians, thinkers, and opinion leaders.
After the space closed, Uribe Schwarzkopf undertook a project to ensure that though the owners no longer wanted to run the original business, the space would retain its spirit and importance to the community.
The concept that guided the rehabilitation of Pobre Diablo was developed by the young Quiteno architect Daniel Moreno, who designed an architectural intervention that retained key characteristics of the original building and its essence as a catalyst for culture and creativity, giving rise to a multifunctional space that promotes co-creation, entrepreneurship, innovation, culture and the gastronomic experience in one of the main creative districts of Quito, the La Floresta neighborhood.
Today, this mixed-use cultural space, which is still known as El Pobre Diablo, houses three complementary spaces that maintain the essence of a place that inspires creativity, innovation, local gastronomy, and artistic and cultural expressions:
- IMPAQTO, the most important coworking space and business accelerator in Quito, which we support both in this space, and which we provide spaces to across the city.
- Terra restaurant, which offers a contemporary gastronomic experience, based on local customs and ingredients provided by small producers from all over Ecuador.
- N24 Art Gallery, a non-profit space for urban art and cultural exchange, which supports local artists with a space to exhibit their works and bring together the Quito community within the cultural and intellectual movement.
LAB US: co-creation and community
A couple of years ago, Uribe Schwarzkopf opened the doors of the first LAB US (Sustainable Urban Laboratory), designed by Leppanen Anker Architecture, a local architecture studio. The LAB US has continued to serve as a platform for new ideas that give life to innovative urban interventions. LAB US: co-creation and community.
The LAB US operates in Uribe Schwarzkopf’s vacant properties, during which for several months we offer the city a space for meeting and co-creation — hosting lectures, and opening up free workspaces. These spaces host a community of architects, designers, social entrepreneurs, urban artists, activists, and others coming together to create solutions to the sustainability challenges that Quito faces, through free coworking spaces, access to technology, workshops, and conferences open to the entire community.
The US LABs have demonstrated the potential of the different uses that can be given to vacant properties to convene, build and strengthen community ties and the importance of occupying vacant spaces in the city to enhance the creative energy of its residents.
OCHOYMEDIO: the neighborhood, the city and the country
For several years, Uribe Schwarzkopf has been supporting the local film industry by sponsoring national productions and the most important neighborhood cinema in Quito, OCHOYMEDIO.
As founder Mariana Andrade notes, “OchoyMedio is a cultural center, a privileged home for cinema; but it is more than a movie screen. It is a cultural centrality in La Floresta neighborhood, that generates and builds critical thinking through art and culture, where the community is at the heart of its development.”
OCHOYMEDIO has become the most important platform for the construction and dissemination of Ecuadorian film culture, as well as for the discussion on the role and contribution of culture in the sustainable urban development of Quito. This neighborhood cinema, perhaps one of the few remaining in South America, has become a vital meeting place for a community that brings together social activists, cultural actors, and citizens seeking an alternative recreational space in the middle of a city in constant transformation.
A long-term commitment to the creative economy and the essence of the city
Like El Pobre Diablo, OCHOYMEDIO is located in La Floresta neighborhood of Quito, considered a cultural stronghold of the city. The neighborhood has been recognized not only for its important material and architectural heritage but also for the strong creative community operating in studios throughout the area.
As in many other cities, neighborhoods like La Floresta, while it has seen the birth of new creative endeavors and the consolidation of important cultural spaces for the city, also faces the challenge of carrying out an adequate process of urban revitalization, which is inevitable in the near future.
In these example of a neighborhood and city, it’s important that architects and developers plan projects thinking of the community that is going to inhabit them and the neighbors and how to impact them in a positive way, every new development should bring new and exciting components to the neighborhood and focusing them on lifestyle, culture, and entertainment is always a winner.
Uribe Schwarzkopf is committed to continue betting on the development of the creative economy and the consolidation of the city as a cultural and architectural hub, preserving the dynamism, innovation, and experimentation that make Quito a vibrant and dynamic place to live now, and will shape the future of our city.
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