Familia del Tío Beto is a permanent house design that uses pallets, straw and soil in an old technique known as “Quincha” in South America. Three units were constructed after a fire episode that affected Valparaiso in 2014. Voluntee
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Market Suggested Retail Price
Distributors / Implementing Organizations
The building design was developed by Minga Valpo in Valparaíso (Chile) for three different families that lost their houses after a fire episode in 2014. It was constructed using dwellers and volunteer labor led by the architects team. Education in technical construction skills were provided through workshops led by experts in bioconstruction.
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
Distributions to Date Status
As of 2016, 3 houses were constructed under the Minga Valpo.
Unique Design (Yes/No)
Intended number of occupants (#)
Duration of construction (days)
Footprint area (m²)
Number of storeys
Flammable flash point temperature (ºC)
Thermal insulating capacity (m²*K/W)
Straw: R2.4 – R3.0
Maximum wind speed (km/h)
Structural Occupancy Category
Seismic Design Category
The building uses an old construction technique known as "quincha" in South America. The walls were made using 2" x 6" pallets for the wooden frame and filled them with straw for thermal insulation. The exterior is covered with a mixture of mud and straw to give the wall thermal mass. After a scratch coat is applied to the exterior mud layer and dried, a layer of lime plaster is applied to make the wall waterproof. Recycled glass bottles can be integrated in the open window elements of the building for decoration. All materials are easily found locally and were used to build all the walls of the three houses. The roof is made of corrugated metal panel. The house measures 36m².
The building can be maintained by local labor with earth construction experience.
Local materials used in construction can be replaced if needed.
A well-constructed and maintained quincha building can last decades.
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
Minga Valpo states that the building is energy efficient, can be constructed from sustainable and recycled materials, and can be self-constructed by its users.
Vetted Performance Status
No testing has been completed.
Builders should wear appropriate protective equipment such as hardhats, gloves and safety glasses while working to protect against physical injury commonly associated with heavy construction.
Complementary Technical Systems
Academic Research and References
Jorquera Silva, N., 2014, Aprendiendo del Patrimonio Vernáculo: tradición e innovación en el uso de la quincha en la Arquitectura Chilena. Revista de Arquitectura V.20 N.29, Universidad de Chile.
Marín, S., 2019, Mercado Puerto Valparaiso (MPV): modelo de gestión cooperativa para la regeneración de la identidad barrial dentro del área portuaria del Sitio del Patrimonio Mundial en Valparaiso, Chile. Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena
Compliance with regulations
The project complies with the Valparaiso Masterplan: Normativa Nº 2013 del 1981.