The low-cost Sustainable Housing Model designed by Tatiana Bilbao, a Mexican architect, is a full scale two story and two bedroom sustainable housing solution that can adapt to suit varying numbers of residents, and can expand as a family grows. The model can also be altered to suit the variety of climates around the country, by using a variety of materials and spatial layouts.
Market Suggested Retail Price
Distributors / Implementing Organizations
The two-story, two-bedroom modular structure that, at 72 m2, is not only significantly larger than the minimum mandated by Mexican regulations but can also easily be expanded as a family grows, with terraces that can become extra rooms and double-height spaces to which mezzanines can be added. Though the model featured a concrete-block core with lightweight wood shipping pallets used for some walls, the homes can be made from different materials to adapt to a variety of settings.
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
This product is made available upon request to the designer.
Distributions to Date Status
According to the designer, the first two units were constructed to demonstrate the design to the government, plus around 20 houses have been constructed in Ciudad Acuña in northern Mexico along the Texas border. Plans are under way to build as many as 3,000 per year in the southern state of Chiapas.
Unique Design (Yes/No)
Intended number of occupants (#)
Duration of construction (days)
Footprint area (m²)
Number of storeys
Concrete blocks and wooden pallets
Flammable flash point temperature (ºC)
Thermal insulating capacity (m²*K/W)
Maximum wind speed (km/h)
Structural Occupancy Category
Seismic Design Category
Can be adapted to various Mexican climates
The building has a rigid core of concrete blocks, while its surrounding rooms are made up of modules of more lightweight materials such as wooden pallets.This system of not finishing everything with strong materials, and sometimes using an industrial palette, allows for more space with much less money. This also allows the design to be easily adapted into different layouts. It also allows for a bigger floor plan than most social housing units, which typically have an area of 43 m2 – the minimum federal requirement, so all of the existing models are43 m2. In its first phase, Bilbao's house includes two bedrooms, one bathroom, one kitchen and a five-meter-high living and dining space. Up to five additional bedrooms can be added at a later stage.
Provided by the manufacturer
The housing models are built to be durable and low-maintanace. Most components can be replaced using local materials as the target market of low income households are in remote locations with limited access to material suppliers.
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
Sustainable housing model that adopts the form of the archetypical house (two slanted roofs) which adapts to different geographical, social and cultural variations.
Vetted Performance Status
Safety hazards related to these houses relate to the proper maintenance of the electrical and water installations.
Complementary Technical Systems
Several Eco technologies are included in order to achieve maximum energy efficiency, and different interior space arrangements were developed to cope with varying urban and rural habits and traditions, with the final objective of providing every Mexican family with an intelligent affordable solution for a dignified house.
Academic Research and References
Compliance with regulations
A typical unit has an area of 43 m2 – the minimum federal requirement in Mexico.