The Calanoa Project is an initiative by Marlene and Diego Samper that aims to contribute to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity in the Amazon region by providing a setting that integrates art, design, architecture, scientific research, communication, community education, and sustainable and respectful tourism.

Starting in 2009 on its actual location, the original Calanoa Project was developed in the 80's in the lower Caquet√° River, in the Colombian Amazon.

Calanoa is a place of encounters. encounters with the other and the wild.

It is a laboratory of applied creativity, a lab of alternative educational processes, a lab were art is understood as a powerful transforming force for the individual and the society. Calanoa is a lab for sustainable living in the tropics

Calanoa is a a permanent forum for art, design and science, through residencies, workshops, encounters and international meetings.

It is based in a private natural reserve located on the banks of the Amazon River, 60 km west of the Colombian town of Leticia, beside the Amacayacu Natural Park and close to indigenous villages of the Tikuna, Cocama, Huitoto and Bora people. The Calanoa Project works with the indigenous villages that are around the Amacayacu Natural park, supporting educational processes, conservation of biological resources, sustainable economic practices and the preservation of ancestral knowledge and cultural practices.

From the design stage to construction, maintenance and operation, everything is done in partnership with the local indigenous communities. They are the original inhabitants of the forest, and we depend on their knowledge of resources and traditional techniques.

Calanoa provides an ideal setting for the development and implementation of innovative design for the humid tropics. The building of the settlement has been a laboratory for natural and sustainable architecture, research into traditional techniques, local materials, wood and natural fibres, raw earth and ceramic, landscape architecture, alternative energies and water treatment, as well as the practice of appropriate forest management. (see more about tropical architecture in Calanoa)

The hub of this conservation project is 125 acres of land - the starting point for a natural reserve and a collection of tropical fruits, medicinal and useful Amazonian plants for a self-sufficient settlement. Hundreds of hardwood trees, fruits and palms have been planted in order to supply food, fibres and building materials. The Calanoa Foundation is supporting the establishment of a Botanical Garden in the village of Mocagua, a collection of useful Amazonian and tropical plants as well as a seed bank for the villages around.

Art in the forest

sculpture by Diego Samper

Calanoa is a lab for tropical sustainable architecture

See the architecture gallery




photos©Diego Samper2012