Doctor-G / FRENTE

© Paul Czitrom

Architects: FRENTE / Juan Pablo Maza + Jorge Yazpik
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Project Team: Manuel Perez, Gabriela Morales, Arais Reyes, Verónica Espinosa
Contractor: Grupo Modulo
Constructed Area: 2,195 sqm
Each Apartment Area: 51.5 sqm
Design year: 2004
Construction year: 2008-2009
Photographs: Paul Czitrom, Onnis Luque & Juan Pablo Maza

floor plan
© Paul Czitrom

The Main Feature of this low-income apartment building, located in a corner of a popular neighborhood of Mexico City, is giving its inhabitants a sense of security from its hostile environment.

© Paul Czitrom

A Waving Surface is created by placing red bricks in an un-typical manner, taking advantage of Mexico’s low cost labor. The orthogonal concrete grid emphasizes the subtle movement of the surface projecting irregular shadows over the walls.

© Paul Czitrom

The L-formed Scheme of the plan solves the need of giving each one of the 29 apartments a view towards the street while creating an internal courtyard where all the entrances are arranged.

Each Apartment with 51 sqm, contains: two bedrooms, living-dining room, kitchen, laundry and bathroom.

Cite: "Doctor-G / FRENTE" 30 Jan 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Diefenbagen

    I’m sure there are better low-income apartment building proyects in Mexico. This one doesn’t worth the thread.

    • http://zozzo koh

      what is raw material i like it

  • toni

    why bother making these slight deformations on the facade,they almost look unintentional.At least the appartments have a rather logical distibution and no wasted space, which is rare in archdaily’s posts.

    • mike

      Maybe they ran out of bricks ? :D

  • César Castro

    Eight floors (including the basement and the roof)
    and no elevator???!!!

    Geez, don’t want to buy on the last floor!!

    • gaucho

      It’s at the end of the corridor, opposite the stairs.

  • Filipe

    Perfect! I love it. Congratulations.

  • Rembo

    Despite the generally negative tone of the comments above, I think this building deserves a second glance. It’s disappointing that the authors didn’t provide any information on design or budgetary limitations, as it seems that THAT is where the true measure of the building lies. If we assume that either of these limitations were quite severe, then perhaps some of the moves could be seen as quite clever – such as the relationship between the frame and infill, the subtle variation of light on the facade, etc. Not that it’s the most beautiful place to call home, but still I see some promise. If only the authors gave us more information to see that more clearly.

  • JP

    It look like PAC Favelas’s buildings in brazil…

  • Dustin

    The purpose is to give a sense of security? please explain how….? It looks like it’s ready to fall over, and the worse part is that it was intended to look like that.
    The deformations are so subtle that it just looks like bad construction, they should have used the “cheap labor” to make something worth while and not this.
    I live in Mexico, there are a lot better examples of low interest housing. The floor plan is also completely bland.

    • Dustin

      Also, what about some interior pictures? Isn’t that the whole point of social interest housing? try to provide decent living space with few resources? Kind of makes you wonder about the interior quality when they don’t even post any pictures of it.

  • martian

    adore it!
    beautiful, very cheap, very mexico city!
    well done.

  • JoseCarlos

    poor people in mexico cant afford a home pricier than 20,000 dlls, so to you all people out there, this is reality, forget that zaha or ghery stuff, this is real architecture people, this is architecture that solves real problems, not stuff made out of vanity

  • simon

    deberian tener un standart minimo para seleccionar proyectos y publicarlos, estas cosas no creo que aporten mucho!

  • Modern Zen Architecture

    Sense of security? Okay I see the fortress like entrance. But, I don’t see other basic, and cheap security features: Card Key Entry, CCTV, Security Lobby by the entrance, security guard.

    It’s a good start, I imagine. As I am into eco/sustainability/green,etc, etc… I’d definitely like to hear about water reclamation, solar panels, energy saving appliances, ac community garden, etc, etc…

  • amron

    strange project
    I think it’s beautiful but a little risky to design or to live in…
    I want to see another projects by the architect

  • amron

    by the way,who is the client?

  • JoseCarlos

    In mexico and in other developing countries, people living in poverty cant afford a home over 20,000 dlls, so the challenge we as third world architects have is to provide affordable and dignified homes.

    I understand that this project doesnt have the proper aesthetics for a home, but it solves huge housing problems that we have in Latin America.

    many of you people from the USA or Europe dont understand this project, because you don’t witness true poverty in a day to day basis, i recommend that you guys check out ELEMENTAL CHILE’s page if you want to get to know a little bit about socially responsible architecture in Latin America

  • JLBR21

    God, what a depressing place, and now it’s brand new as you see it in the pics, wait 3 or 4 years and it will look like c*ap.

    Sorry but this just doesn’t cut it for me, why make people live in such a horrible environment? ‘Cause they are poor?

  • shrn

    beautiful. it would be nice if you could add some interiors.

  • Nicolas

    People that are saying this is a good project definitely havent been to latin america… it looks more like a big house from the slums…

  • Lee

    the way they vertically positioned the corridor is really smart. anyway, i don’t think this house would be worse than any other show-off buildings published here, i do like it.

  • Nachito

    Looks like it’s screaming ¡Graffiti all over me! I hope it happens and get some nice ones…
    about the facade deformations hmm… no, so subtle that look unintentional… a game within the brickwork would be more interesting, wolud be putting a more creative work into the “low cost labor”… whatever… i live in mexico an looks almost like a self-constucted building, rather than a architect’s work… unless you look to the plans… rational, nice distribution.

  • Caroline

    The plans seem nicely distribuited, but:
    “A Waving Surface is created by placing red bricks in an un-typical manner, taking advantage of Mexico’s low cost labor.”?

    I don’t get it. They took advantage of the low cost labor making the workers do a slightly change in every single line of bricks?
    Or did they thought “Hey, since the labor is low cost, this should come out wrong anyway, so let’s do it crooked on purpose.” ?

  • gwri

    i like the outside , i would like to see all this expert arquitects that posted about this , dealing with the real problems in mexico

    • Oflodor

      Are you an Architect?

  • Jean Nouvel

    A standard construction frame infilled with typical brick walls, that vary slightly from floor to floor, allowing a variation in room dimension. Rather than repeated modules from floor to floor, the architects took a deliberate approach to juxtapose the standard construction with one that allowed subtle variation. Lights and shadows become the ‘ornament’ of the building. Both rigid and monolithic, dynamic and subtle, typical and special. An architecture for thinkers.

    • op

      totaly agree. it’s a great building, very refreshing.

  • Manuel Vargas

    I’m from Mexico City, and i can say: YES IS THE NEXT GENERATION OF BRAZILIAN FAVELA’S: MEXICAN FAVELAS!!! It’s a good design,but i like so much the japanese design, because less is more, and this proyect is part of the begining of New Mexico City looks like!!!