the world's most visited architecture website

ELEMENTAL: Incremental Housing and Participatory Design Manual

  • 10
  • by
  • Articles

What began as an academic initiative to improve the quality of life of poor strata of the population has meanwhile become a professional “do tank” offering services that cover the entire spectrum of urban development. Alejandro Aravena (1967 Santiago de Chile) founded Elemental in 2001 in his hometown with the goal of alleviating social deprivation directly instead of hoping for a balance of income relations. Besides building public facilities and public housing, Elemental also develops new approaches for the reorganization of resources and the potential of cities by means of projects devoted to infrastructure and transportation. This publication documents the social activity and history of the international architectural team and sheds light on its financing strategies, for example through participative building.

Texts by Alejandro Aravena and Andrés Iacobelli


009 Introduction 010 Elemental Timeline 013 What’s the Point ? : The Problem of Social Housing in a Few Words 017 Half a Good House ≠ One Small House 018 Housing as Investment and Not as Mere Social Expense

023 Principles of Elemental 024 The Relevance of the Housing Problem 028 Origins and Fundamentals 050 What is Elemental ?

053 Framework: Constraints and the Rules of the Game 054 Housing Policy until 2001 058 The Existing Offer: Three Typologies 064 Housing Policy 2001-2006

081 Elemental’s First Case : Quinta Monroy in Iquique 085 Assignment: X= 100f x US$7,500 x 30m2 / 0.5 ha. 091 What Was Available in the Market098 Elemental’s Proposal 112 The Architectural Project 116 The Project’s Socialization 138 The Proposal’s Construction 142 The Occupancy of the Houses 172 Eightteen Months Later… 190 Value Increase

195 Elemental’s Worldwide Architectural Competition 197 When Proving the Point is Not Enough 202 The Equation to Be Soved 206 The Results

241 The 7 Winning Projects 250 Elemental Antofagasta 266 Elemental Copiapó 278 Elemental Valparaiso 298 Elemental Renca 322 Elemental Chiguayante 350 Elemental Valdivia 364 Progress Diagrams

369 New Projects 370 New Rules of the Game: The 2006 Housing Policy 377 New Projects

451 Socialization Lessons: Recommendations for a Participatory Design 453 Phase A: Design 456 Phase B: Bidding 457 Phase C: Construction 462 Phase D: Habitation

465 Structural Lesson 467 Structure for the Final Scenario (Not Just the Initial One) 469 Prefabrication and Seismic Isolation

485 Architectural Lessons: Design Manual for Housing’s Financial Appreciation 490 Good Location Within the City 492 Harmonious Growth Over Time 494 Collective Space for the Extended Family 496 Building the Difficult Half of the House First 498 Middle-Class DNA

503 To Be Continued…

Publisher: Hatje Cantz Language: English/Spanish Pages: 512 (200 illustrations) Dimensions: 17.40 x 24.20 cm Format: Softcover in PVC slipcase ISBN: 978-3-7757-3460-8

Buy this book

Hatje Cantz

Cite:Diego Hernandez. "ELEMENTAL: Incremental Housing and Participatory Design Manual" 10 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>