Architecture

$8,000 home proposed for Mexico

$8,000 home proposed for Mexic...
Depending on its size and plan, the home would start at $8,000 and rise to a maximum of $14,000
Depending on its size and plan, the home would start at $8,000 and rise to a maximum of $14,000
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Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
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Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home's various configurations
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Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home's various configurations
Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
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Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
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Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
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Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
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Architectural drawing of the $8,000 home
The $8,000 home comprises a central core built from concrete blocks, with surrounding modules constructed from wooden pallets
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The $8,000 home comprises a central core built from concrete blocks, with surrounding modules constructed from wooden pallets
The pallets allow relatively easy expansion and alteration, and they're also used instead of windows to offer natural light and ventilation
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The pallets allow relatively easy expansion and alteration, and they're also used instead of windows to offer natural light and ventilation
Depending on its size and plan, the home would start at $8,000 and rise to a maximum of $14,000
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Depending on its size and plan, the home would start at $8,000 and rise to a maximum of $14,000
The home is colorful and flexible – though admittedly very basic
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The home is colorful and flexible – though admittedly very basic
Potential layouts include one suitable for a small family and larger units suitable for the inclusion of a large workshop and a store
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Potential layouts include one suitable for a small family and larger units suitable for the inclusion of a large workshop and a store
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Interesting architecture doesn't always come with a high price tag. In a similar vein to the S House and Low Cost House, Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao unveiled an US$8,000 home at this year's Chicago Architecture Biennial. The low-cost house could perhaps one day complement existing social housing options in Mexico.

Working under the assertion that Mexico currently has a shortage of affordable housing, Bilbao conducted interviews and workshops with people who may benefit from a low-cost house, asking what they wanted.

The resulting home is colorful and flexible – though admittedly very basic. It comprises a central core built from concrete blocks, with surrounding modules constructed from wooden pallets. The pallets allow relatively easy expansion and alteration, and they're also used instead of windows to offer natural light and ventilation in suitable areas of the home.

The $8,000 home comprises a central core built from concrete blocks, with surrounding modules constructed from wooden pallets
The $8,000 home comprises a central core built from concrete blocks, with surrounding modules constructed from wooden pallets

There are several potential layouts. One comprises a house suitable for a small family which includes two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, and a combined dining and living space. A larger family could add additional bedrooms and even an outdoor terrace, while other layouts depicted in the architect's plans include a large workshop and a store that takes up much of the ground floor.

Depending on its size, the local regulations, and location, the home would be priced at a minimum of $8,000 and rise to a maximum of $14,000. However, a few concerns spring to mind, including the toxicity of some pallets (which are often treated in chemicals), the apparent lack of insulation, plus whether the home would even be preferable to existing social housing schemes.

Still, it's early days yet and assuming such concerns are addressed, the home could be an interesting alternative to social housing, especially for rural and semi-rural areas. On this note, Dezeen reports that the house was commissioned by Mexico's government as part of a low-cost housing scheme and that 23 have been built thus far (20 for a private client).

Source: Tatiana Bilbao via Arch Daily

View gallery - 11 images
1 comment
Don Duncan
If the local soil permitted (correct ratio of sand/clay) rammed earth is cheaper, easier, and coupled with passive solar design and the correct insulation placement will require no heat/cooling.
The use of pallets for windows, while attractive, is not efficient. Chimney skylights eliminate the need for windows, and this makes the envelope more secure and energy efficient.
Earth houses allow low tech building, which in turn allows sweat equity, which allows the end user an opportunity to personalize and bond with his shelter. This is not considered by central planners who, because of their collective mentality, are incapable of conceiving of the power of individual self actualization. This is just one reason why public (govt.) housing projects are dismal failures, wasting money and human resources.