the world's most visited architecture website
i

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos

Sign up now to save and organize your favorite architecture projects

i

Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.

Find the most inspiring products in our Product Catalog.

i

Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

i

All over the world, architects are finding cool ways to re-use run-down old buildings. Click here to see the best in Refurbishment Architecture.

Want to see the coolest refurbishment projects? Click here.

i

Immerse yourself in inspiring buildings with our selection of 360 videos. Click here.

See our immersive, inspiring 360 videos. Click here.

All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
Navigate articles using your keyboard
  1. ArchDaily
  2. News
  3. In 4 Days, 100 Volunteers Used Mud and Reeds To Build This Community Center in Mexico

In 4 Days, 100 Volunteers Used Mud and Reeds To Build This Community Center in Mexico

In 4 Days, 100 Volunteers Used Mud and Reeds To Build This Community Center in Mexico
In 4 Days, 100 Volunteers Used Mud and Reeds To Build This Community Center in Mexico, © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

Developed by architects from Colectivo bma in Barranca de Huentitán, Guadalajara, Mexico, this new building for the Mexican Institute for Community Development (IMDEC) was built in just four days with the help of 100 volunteers.

The new facility includes both housing and meeting space, and was constructed using local building techniques and materials. Built with a concrete base, the walls were made using bahareque (reed frames and mud) and woven reed lattices that cover most of the building’s exterior. 

Learn more about the construction process after the break. 

Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez + 53

From the architects:

The project was developed from the need for facilities to receive and lodge participants of the multiple conventions and workshops held by IMDEC in its CEDE venue, which at the time hosted events in a large, multipurpose cabin by the canyon. The main goal of the project was to facilitate the participation of members from distant communities by providing accommodation and means to interact for longer periods of time.

Section
Section

The project was developed and simplified by three key factors:

  • The educational context provided by the self-build workshops taking place and its relationship with the use of sustainable materials; this encouraged the choice of bahareque as the construction method, which consists of interlaced reed frames plastered with a mixture of straw and clay from the site.
  • The limited budget, the urgency of completion and the participation of volunteers in its construction; this condition was taken as an opportunity to reinforce the relationship between the architecture and the community, planning its versatility and allowing its complete appropriation by the users.
  • The site's great weather and wonderful natural environment; which permitted the development of an open building.

Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

The building’s privileged position at the top of the canyon drove the project developers to look for the least obstructive placement so that the mountains are always in view. 

Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

The pavilion has two dormitory wings with bathrooms and services for 20 people (currently adapted for 33, not counting the option to sleep on the floor on straw mats), as well as a large double-height common area with panoramic views that can be used as a reunion hall or as an elevated stage for open field events. 

Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

This space is connected through a sole corridor to the dormitories, creating the feeling of “dormir en bola” – a Spanish term that refers to sleeping and staying together as a crowd and in the comfort of friendship. A dirt patio with access to the upper deck provides an elevated viewpoint (also suitable for a meeting and camping area).

© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez + 53

The project is structured around three concrete platforms and columns that intercept the topography and allow the building to be accessed from every side. Modular wooden frames are placed in between the columns to form the bahareque walls, and the doors and windows are made of woven palm leafs. 

© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

To avoid heat loss and to protect the building from the strong wind, the perimeter is covered with a lattice wall made of interlaced reed, which also hides the foreign presence of the concrete and brings back local identity. Stairways and details in the traditional orange “Lama” brick please the local eye and blend in with the earthen color palette.

© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

The construction process was planned so that it could be carried out in two phases; each one to be concluded in a two-day period by 100 volunteers. The concrete platforms and columns, wiring, plumbing and technical elements were finished prior to the two phases, leaving a bare structure ready for the walls and fixtures to be implemented by volunteers. 

© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

Close to the date of completion, wooden frames with the woven palm leafs and interlaced reef panels were prepared, along with the straw and clay for the mixture.

© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

Having a large number of participants in a relatively small space demanded a great effort from the project coordinators to organize the working groups: panel fitting, hand plastering walls, preparation and transportation of the mixture, windows and door fitting, stonework... and of course, preparing food for everybody.

© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez
© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

The process ended up being a big success. In two days and on two occasions, the collective activity left everyone feeling satisfied and with a very meaningful personal experience. To close the event, a time capsule with the signatures of the participants was buried. 

The building stands true to its purpose and is integrated into its surroundings, thanks to the honest use of materials, which create a smooth transition between the exterior and interior spaces.

Floorplan
Floorplan
Sections
Sections

CEDE Lodging Pavilion: Colectivo bma / Francisco Martínez of Patio.workshop + Pedro Bravo of BA arquitectos
Location: Huentitán Canyon, Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
Construction: Pedro Bravo, Francisco Martínez, Sandy Minier, Javier Reyes, Gerardo Monroy + 100 volunteers.
Construction method: Reinforced concrete, brick and stonework, bajareque (interlaced reed and straw/clay mixture ), reed framework and woven palm leafs.
Year: 2013
Area: 375m2
Client: IMDEC, Instituto Mexicano para el Desarrollo Comunitario ( Mexican Institute for Community Development. ) Photographs: Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez

View the complete gallery

Cite: Franco, José Tomás. "In 4 Days, 100 Volunteers Used Mud and Reeds To Build This Community Center in Mexico" [Guadalajara, México: un edificio comunitario de muros de bahareque y celosía de carrizo] 09 May 2015. ArchDaily. (Trans. Watkins, Katie) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/628163/in-4-days-100-volunteers-used-mud-and-reeds-to-build-this-community-center-in-mexico/> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments