Updated on March 6, 2024


Created on November 17, 2019

Familia del Tío Beto

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Familia del Tío Beto is a permanent house for disaster relief that uses pallets, straw and soil.

Developed By Unknown
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Product Description

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. Volunteer and dwellers labor (without previous experience in construction) were led by a team of professional architects.

*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.

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Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Manufacturing/Building Method

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

Select Type

User Provision Model

The building's materials were recycled or came from donations through Minga Valpo.

Distributions to Date Status

As of 2016, 3 houses were constructed under the Minga Valpo.

Unique Design (Yes/No)


Intended number of occupants (#)

5 people

Duration of construction (days)

7 days

Footprint area (m²)

Number of storeys


Flammable flash point temperature (ºC)


Thermal insulating capacity (m²*K/W)

Maximum wind speed (km/h)


Structural Occupancy Category

Seismic Design Category





Suitable Climates

Temperate, Tropical

Design Specifications

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.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

The building can be maintained by local labor with earth construction experience.

Replacement Components

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


Compliance with regulations

The project complies with the Valparaiso Masterplan: Normativa Nº 2013 del 1981.  

Other Information

This video is about the fire in Valparaíso and the neighbourhood reconstruction process. Valparaíso Fire / Chile 2014-2016  

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