Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura Social Housing Production
Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura
The product is a social project by Mexican architecture firm, Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura (Comunal: Architecture Workshop), working with the Union de Cooperativas Indígenas Tosepan Titataniske (Indegenous Cooperative Union of Tosepan and Titataniske). It is a prototype for social housing that follows recent regulations that prohibits the use of local bamboo and other materials as structural support. It is a modular design that consists of three elements: two trusses and an interchangeable panel.
This prototype by Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura, co-designed with the Cooperativa Tosepan Titataniske, was created to follow the 2016 criteria of Mexico’s National Housing Commission that prohibited government funding for designs using traditional materials (such as straw and bamboo) and techniques. It avoids using bamboo as the primary structure element. The prototype was built in under a week, using blocks, concrete, imported bamboo and ECOLAM. The walls are made from prefabricated panels coated with ixtle, a local vegetable fiber, and then mortar. It follows local tradition of aligning the spaces around a main hall.
*Please note that building designs are being included as “products” in the Habitat Sector of the Solutions Library to allow readers to learn from how projects were designed and constructed and how they are serving the occupants, whether effective or ineffective.
$109,340 MXN ($5,768 USD as of July, 2018)
The design was made for the First National Contest for Rural Housing, so it competes with the rest of the designs for government funding.
Goal 11: Aims to develop sustainable housing.
Steel, bricks, and bamboo transported to site in pieces and then assembled on site.
Building designs generally fall under architectural copyright.
The design is a prototype and so there is no provision model to date. However, it is eligible for government funding.
Only this prototype exists so far.
Indication of whether design can be replicated in multiple locations
Number of individuals. 1 family = 5 persons.
Number of days from start of construction to completion
Surface area of footprint
Number of occupiable floors (ground floor only = 1)
Primary materials used
Composite estimated R-value
As calculated by designer
As calculated by designer
Based upon primary structural system as per the International Building Code
Based upon Structural Occupancy Category and soil conditions of site; as per the International Building Code
List of suitable climates for use of this design
The design is composed of a structural frame that is assembled on-site and then fitted with prefabricated panels. The primary materials are bamboo (40%), concrete (30%) and ECOLAM (10%). The bamboo panels are covered in ixtle, a local vegetable fiber. Some walls are brick lattices that allow for ventilation, specially in the kitchen where the smoke needs to be removed. The roof is made of ECOLAM, a local metal sheet made from food-grade recycled aluminium. The design has two bedrooms, a bathroom, a main hall, a kitchen and a porch. The local people were trained in making the panels so they could give maintenance or replicate the technique.
The locals were trained to give maintanance.
The mortar could need retouching, and the windows and doors could be replaced if needed.
Performance targets include: being able to be constructed in a week by locals, having a sustainable focus, and being appropriate to the social, cultural and economic context.
Ing. Abraham Aragón Vásquez is a civil engineer who oversaw the project.
People working on the construction are subjected to the risks it entails; heights, heavy objects, tools, among others.
A complementary technical system could be an off-grid energy system.
The design won the silver medal for the first National Rural Housing Projects contest.
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