Rooftop Learning Center in Quito, Ecuador (Atuchcho)


2018; Alan Bugg (Principle), David Smith;
McWhorter Fund for Excelence ($7500)


Project partners include Auburn University Building Science faculty Alan Bugg, Scott Kramer, Junshan Lui, and their service learning class; Project coordination by Sifat International Missions of Lineville, Alabama. Auburn University students that participated are Amelia Bandy, Hailey Boutelle, Bailey Matthews, Anaaft Brown Sakyi-Addo, Natalie Walker and Allie Wright.

Student learning center graphic concept.

Graphic design student concept for half-wall learning graphics. In addition to graphic content, various medium applications were considered.

Student learning center graphic concept.

Learning graphic submission by another graphic design student. Perhaps this graphic could be applied using spray paint and stencils.

Student learning center graphic concept.

These are two roughs of landscape themed mural learning graphic submitted by another graphic design student. One focuses on color, while the other teaches counting.

Mockup of geometric learning graphic

Final design 1. The daycare staff response to the student concepts was that they wanted learning graphics about geometric shapes and farm animals. Final designs and illustrations by David Smith

Mockup of farm animal learning graphic

Final design 2. It was decided that using the vinyl banner material wrapping around steel tubing as the medium would work best. These are just mock-ups, as we had to leave early due to civil unrest.

Aerial photo of daycare building with exposed rooftop before shelter construction.

A second collaboration with Building Science was a rooftop playground/learning center upgrade for a daycare center located in Atucucho, one the poor neighborhoods inside the “Belt of Misery” in Quito, Ecuador. Through grass roots efforts and help from several organizations outside of the country, this daycare was established in 2004.

The upgrade was to build an open air covering to the rooftop, and two designs for educational graphics (the staff requested geometric shapes and farm animals), as well as an exterior identity sign. Vinyl graphics with associated metal frames were created and delivered for assembly and installation to the daycare.

Ground view of daycare building with rooftop shelter complete. No images available of graphics installation.

Faculty and students worked with local contractors to install the canopy and graphics in October 2019. However, due to civil unrest, our trip was cut very short, and we were not able to oversee the final production. The work is completed, but Covid-19 has continued to keep us out of the country.


Auburn University
207 Wallace Hall, Auburn, AL 36849
David Smith
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design