Mexican studio Comunal Taller de Arquitectura is proving yet again that bamboo is a miracle material when it comes to creating affordable housing options. Working with local residents, the studio has built a social housing structure in a small town outside of Puebla. Using a prefabricated bamboo frame, the architects worked side-by-side with the locals so that the residents would learn how to replicate its design – which can be built in just seven days – on their own.
The architects have made a name for themselves thanks to their commitment to working with locals on self-build structures using local bamboo and other locally-sourced materials. In this project, however, the architects were forced to import bamboo from the United States due to government restrictions. Once the imported bamboo was available, the team, along with the local residents, used it to make a modular and prefabricated frame.
Once the frame was in place, the skeleton of the prefab bamboo structure was constructed in less than a week. The second step consisted of building out the 60-square meter residence using local wood and stone. The various bamboo panels used throughout for the window shutters and the doors were coated with a local tissue known as ixtile for extra protection against the elements. Walls of red brick lattices provide natural air ventilation throughout the home and are helpful in rerouting any kitchen smoke to the exterior.
On the interior, exposed bamboo trusses and beams form a slanted roof, which is topped with a thin metal sheet. The roof overhangs around the structure to provide shade for the wrap-around covered porch area. A grey paving makes up the flooring of the porches and continues throughout the interior.
According to the architects, the rural housing design was approved for federal subsidies, meaning that the affordable and sustainable prototype could be easily replicated in other areas using local materials and methods.