Relocation of a village population (Sintiope) to a new site (Manos Unidas) on the Nicaraguan island Ometepe. The inhabitants lived under permanent risk to be buried from mudslides during Nicaragua's hurricane season.

The project was financed through international donor organizations; it was executed with local non-governmental organizations (NGO) and the village population itself.

The transition of the community is regulated within a 10 year plan. According to this timeframe, the inhabitants are supposed to move and use their new houses as well as the crafts that they learned throughout the assisted auto-construction and relocation process.

A 6x6m residential prototype (Progressive Housing) is developed together with the inhabitants. Each house has the possibility to extend or connect towards its neighbor; thus creating the opportunity for social clusters where related family members or befriended inhabitants can live and work together. This design combines the objectives of progressive and productive housing modules; both essential components for the islander's way of life.

The project was described as an exemplary work for preemptive action before the possible occurrence of natural disasters;
it was mentioned by the national government as a model project for sustainable development, integrating and supporting the local population.

Furthermore, the project responds to the intraregional economically motivated migration from Nicaragua to neighboring countries - mostly Costa Rica - through the creation and strengthening of local capacities that are aimed at improving the lifestyle on this rural island located in the vast Lago Nicaragua.

The work was presented in the exhibition series EW/NS 02 at the centre for architecture Arc en Reve in Bordeaux, France.


A Foundation (Oliver Schütte, Marije van Lidth de Jeude) with the inhabitants of Sintiope, Nicaraguan NGO Habitar and the Nicaragua Committee Haarlem

Client: Cordaid

Location: Ometepe, Nicaragua

Status: Completed

Year: 2002-2012