ELEMENTAL Monterrey – A new model for social housing

4 Sep


VNRE – In the 21st century, for the first time in human history, a majority of the world’s population is urbanized, living in cities, towns and other urban places. During the coming decades, the most rapid global population growth will be in the urban areas of the developed and developing world. Governments recognize that they must take action in view of the enormous growth of the urban populations in the developing world. This creates great challenges for city planners in carrying out sustainable urban development projects.



The biggest problem is gaining access to opportunities which cities tend to concentrate—jobs, markets, education, health, recreation and social assistance. Those opportunities are not in the outskirts where land is cheap and where many people tend to be expelled to. Location is much more important than size.



Santa Catarina is a city of 230,000 inhabitants, located in the state of Nuevo León, in the northwest of Mexico. The government of Nuevo León, commissioned ELEMENTAL to design a group of 70 homes on a site of six-tenths of a hectare in a middle-class neighborhood in Santa Catarina: ELEMENTAL Monterrey | 70 Incremental Housing Complex.



In this case, it was pertinent to use the strategy of investing state resources to build “the difficult half” of the home. Given that almost 50% of the square meters of the complex will be self-built, it allows for growth to occur within the structure. By using the old 1970’s incremental housing, an open system was introduced that allows a family’s own capacity of action and self-construction to be added to the solution. That openness dissolves the old critique to social housing namely: the monotonous repetition of solutions which is unable to accommodate the diversity of needs, preferences and expectations of people.

ELemental Moterrey

Designed by ELEMENTAL, Alejandro Aravena, Fernando García-Huidobro and Gonzalo Arteaga (Chile), 2008.

ELEMENTAL Monterrey from INDEX: Design to Improve Life on Vimeo.

Source: http://www.designtoimprovelife.dk

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