Elemental Quinta Monroy
Quinta Monroy is a social housing project in Iquique, Chile, by Elemental.
Quinta Monroy is a social housing project in Iquique, Chile, by Elemental. The Chilean Government asked them to design housing for families for only 7,500 USD per family. This money had to cover the costs of terrain, urban planning, and architecture. To make the best possible use of space, they created denser, 35 m2 units that could be expanded over time by the households to 72 m2, vertically and horizontally, without overcrowding. The structure and facilities (such as bathroom and kitchen) were designed to consider this future expansion.
*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 serve the occupants, whether effective or ineffective.
Elemental and Chile Barrio
Other social housing and incremental building schemes such as the Sustainable Incremental Construction Unit (SICU).
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
93 households in the center of Iquique, Chile.
The main structure is built from reinforced concrete, and the materials used for incremental expansion are at the discretion of the households.
Building designs are usually under architectural copyright. Elemental made their designs open source for a few years, but their website is currently unavailable (checked July 2021).
Households were provided the homes through funding from Barrio Chile.
Quinta Monroy is a site-specific building design. Although they made the technical drawings available for download, it is unknown if they are being used.
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
- Location: Iquique | Chile
- No. of Families: 93
- Client: Chile Barrio
- Project Year: 2001
- Construction Year: 2004
- Site Area: 5025 m2
- Structural Engineering: Josè Gajardo Juan Carlos de la Llera
- General Contractor: Loga S.A.
- Materials: Reinforced concrete
- Urban planning and Specialties: Proingel, Abraham Guerra
- Initial Housing: 36 m2
- Extended Housing: 70 m2
- Initial Duplex: 25 m2
- Extended Duplex: 72 m2
The drawings for Quinta Monroy and three other incremental housing design projects (Lo-Barnechea, Monterrey, and Villa-Verde) used to be available from the Elemental website. Still, the website is currently down (checked July 2018). However, some schematics are still available online, such as the floorplans:
Technical support would be provided by a general building contractor.
It is unlikely that replacement components would be needed (see Lifecycle section). A general building contractor would be able to fix the various elements of the building.
Reinforced concrete is known to last for decades if built to a high standard of quality.
Designer specified performance targets include affordability and density.
Unknown. The design likely incorporated structural calculations from a professional engineer.
Not applicable since it is a site specific project.
There is no structural design or code regulation of the incremental additions that are built by the households.
Ferré, A., Salij, TH., 2010, “Total housing: alternatives to urban sprawl.” Barcelona; New York: Actar
Fok, W., 2016, “The Ownership Revolution.” Architectural design, 86(5): 6 -15.
Fraser, M., Brislin, P., 2012, “The Future is Unwritten: Global Culture, Identity, and Economy.” Architectural Design, 82(6): 60-65.
Wilkins, G., 2013, “Final Draft: Designing Architecture’s Endgame.” Architectural design, 83(1): 98 -105.
Post occupancy reviews were performed to see how the occupants were adapting. Elemental cites that although the value of each property increased to 20,000 USD after the first year, residents decided to stay and keep on improving their homes instead of move.
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