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in february 2016, mexico’s national housing commission changed its criteria for providing federal subsidies. the updated regulations stated that the use of traditional materials and constructive systems such as bamboo, straw, and wood would be considered precarious, and that self-built houses made using these materials would no longer be considered for federal funds.

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all images by onnis luque

 

 

as its first housing design did not meet the necessary criteria, multidisciplinary studio comunal: taller de arquitectura worked alongside the tosepan titataniske and tosepan ojtatsentekitinij indigenous cooperatives to develop a second dwelling that avoided the use of bamboo as its primary structural element. titled ‘social housing production: puebla, mexico’, the scheme uses a modular and prefabricated building system that comprises just three elements: two trusses and an interchangeable panel.

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the scheme uses a modular and prefabricated building system

 

 

once installed, the panels are coated with ixtle (a local tissue used to make coffee sacks) and a thin layer of mortar. once the base structure has been erected, an ecolam sheet — made from food-grade aluminum waste — is fitted, offering thermal, acoustic, and antibacterial qualities.

 the house can be assembled in approximately one week, meaning that labor costs are kept to a minimum.

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the structure comprises just three elements: two trusses and interchangeable panels

 

 

the layout responds to the customs and traditions of the native nahuatl people, who typically arrange their homes around a main hallway used to dry coffee and corn crops. meanwhile, the permeable kitchen allows smoke from the firewood to exit freely. the residence also includes two bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as sheltered external porch areas.

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the internal layout responds to the customs and traditions of the native nahuatl people

 

 

in addition to utilizing local materials, a strong emphasis has been placed on environmental performance. rainwater is harvested for reuse, while a biodigestor converts sewage into reusable energy. throughout the scheme, basic bioclimatic strategies have been implemented to combat the region’s high temperatures. 



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the home is arranged around a main hallway used to dry coffee and corn crops

 

 

the project has subsequently been approved by mexico’s national housing commission, meaning that it qualifies to receive federal subsidies. however, comunal: taller de arquitectura will continue to seek the viability of its first design. ‘we firmly believe that traditional building materials and constructive systems must be endorsed by public housing policies in our country and promote the autonomy of indigenous peoples,’ says the design team.

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bamboo panels are coated with a local tissue used to make coffee sacks

comunal-taller-de-arquitectura-social-housing-production-puebla-mexico-designboom-02
local materials have been used throughout

comunal-taller-de-arquitectura-social-housing-production-puebla-mexico-designboom-02
a strong emphasis has been placed on environmental performance

comunal-taller-de-arquitectura-social-housing-production-puebla-mexico-designboom-02
openings in the kitchen’s façade allow smoke from the firewood to exit freely

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the residence includes two bedrooms and a bathroom

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the house can be assembled in approximately one week

 

 

project info:

 

name: producción social de vivienda: sierra nororiental de puebla
architects: comunal: taller de arquitectura
collaborators: unión de cooperativas tosepan titataniske
location: cuetzalan del progreso, puebla, méxico
year: 2016
built surface: 60 sqm / 646 sqf
photography: onnis luque

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