Regional Holcim Awards competition
Eutropia low-cost and space-efﬁcient social housing, Mexico City, Mexico
Type of project Architecture (housing) Estimated start June 2009 of construction
Name Profession Organization City/Country Ricardo Julian Vásquez Ochoa Architect
Mexico City, Mexico
Further author(s) &legal guardian(s)
Further authors: García Bidegorry, Emilio José, Architect, Mexico City, Mexico
Comment of the Holcim Awards jury Latin America
Aiming at an integrated approach to low cost housing in urban areas, the project proposes a re-distribution of space to reﬂect a “neighborhood” typology, favoring urban and community relationships. The strategy is to compress the buildings to aminimum footprint and align them in order to free up some land area. Four blocks of medium density buildings are linked to each other by collective stairs. The line of buildings divides the lot into public and private portions, composed by the street with a sidewalk leading to a small public square. A community building on the square has a ﬂexible ground ﬂoor for different uses such as a small market,health care and educational facilities. On the upper level there is ample space for horticultural activities and rain water collection. The outstanding strength of this project is its focus on community building and social equity, integrating the street and squares as dynamic elements of daily life.
The project utilizes available space effectively to retain community functions and strengthensocial fabric.
Project description by author
The Eutropia project begins with the initiative of a 40-family community. The project was presented at the seminar of Popular Housing by the architect Carlos González. The project is in his hands now to continue the process with the community. Mexico has 30 million poor, of which more than 10 million are impoverished. The top 10% of incomes are 25times that of the poorest 10%. Government-funded public housing does not supply basic needs: creating unsustainable developments with a high consumption of natural resources and inadequate levels of social inclusion and environmental quality. The site is an interstitial and tight space 130m long, of variable width, and surrounded by several country houses. The model of occupation responds to the“vecindad” (neighborhood) architectural typology: one important corridor that feeds several smaller ones to access the houses. Each house is progressively added to and completed over the years. The inhabitability of the dwellings varies between the forty families that occupy the site. There are no common places to play or to meet with neighbors. This project tries to be a mediator between particularneeds, the community and the creation of a quality environment. Inclusion and social equity are starting points in our proposition: equal access to houses, same placement beneﬁts, environmental comfort, etc. The project should create an income for the families through the production of further dwellings, and enhance the community’s social cohesion. The strategy for this purpose is to compress thehousing, coupling and aligning them in order to free-up some land areas. The complete development is composed of four blocks of medium density dwellings, linked to each other by collective stairs. The line of buildings divides the lot in three portions: one public and two private. It is composed of the street, the new sidewalk, a small public square at the end of the sidewalk, and the ground ﬂoor ofthe community building. This building has a ﬂexible ground ﬂoor for different uses depending on the needs; it could be used to host an informal market, or neighbors’ meeting, etc. The next ﬂoor is a multifunctional space with the possibility to lodge cultural, medical care or training activities. The upper level is a space for horticulture activities to produce food in small quantities, which...