With about 120 million people and only 30 million houses, Mexico has a serious problem. The country needs about 9 million homes to provide a humane place to live for the many who have fallen through the cracks of Mexico City's busy streets and beyond. Tatiana Bilbao has designed a home to address this serious lack of affordable housing; her concept was showcased in the Chicago Architecture Biennial which took as its theme “The State of the Art of Architecture”, featuring designs which examine the issues surrounding contemporary architecture around the globe.
Over 100 different architects from more than 30 different countries displayed concepts for the Biennial which sought to “demonstrate that architecture matters at any scale.” Bilbao’s Sustainable Housing prototype offers a customizable design that respects the different needs of each family.
“Social housing has become one of the most important issues in our present day architectural agenda”, say the architects, “with one of the fastest population growth rates in Latin America, the housing shortage in Mexico constitutes a total of 9 million homes”.
The proposition is a daunting one, but the project was born out of a desire to create a new possibility that puts quality homes within the reach of people on lower incomes, more habitable homes with plenty of interior living space, built from quality materials at an affordable price. “To be able to achieve such a goal, we needed to know what the people who were actually going to live inside the house needed and wanted in terms of materials, form, function and appearance”, explained the designers.
The architects went around the country, holding in-situ interviews and workshops, spoke to the people who were actually going to live in the houses, and concluded that the type of social housing that is currently being built is not suitable or sustainable. “We arrived to a project adopting the form of the archetypal house (two slanted roofs) which adapts to different geographical, social and cultural variations”, said the architects.
A revolutionary housing concept was the result. The minimal federal requirement of 43 sq. Meters (463 sq. ft) per house was expanded, the home is built around a central core of rigid materials (concrete blocks) and different surrounding modules of lighter/ cheaper materials (wood pallets) can be added or taken away. So the house allows for future expansions in different phases at different times if required, while the outside appearance of a completed house is always preserved. The house is simple to construct and adapts to each family’s budget, needs and desires.
The house can be constructed for as little as $8,000 depending on location, the construction stage selected, and local regulations.
“The first phase of the house includes two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen and a 5 meter height dining/living room. When completed, the third phase contemplates space for the same rooms and 5 separate bedrooms, with the possibility of adapting each separate house according to each family’s specific needs”, say the architects.
Eco technologies were also included for maximum energy efficiency, and different possibilities for interior space were developed to allow for varying urban and rural habits and traditions, with the overall aim of providing every Mexican family with an adaptable affordable option to own a dignified place that they can call home.
Via Arch Daily.