- Clients:I Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores (INFONAVIT) / Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo Sostenible (CIDS)
- Collaborators:Studio Lin (Signage)
- Design Team:Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample, Cyrus Dochow, Paul Ruppert, Fancheng Fei, Michael Abel, Mark Acciari, Lafina Eptaminitaki, Mark Kamish
Text description provided by the architects. The 32 projects selected exhibit architecture of primary (architectural) elements, straightforward geometries and proportions. Each proposal exhibits potential for growth by aggregation, simple repetition, or various strategies of extension, infill, and addition. It was important to consider how these proposals, assembled into a collective, would work together toward creating not an estate but a community for Apan.
The selection process revealed various categories and themes for which the projects could be classified. Some projects rethink the fundamentals of low-income housing’s spatial organization (corridors, courtyards, roofs), some rework labor and construction, and some recast structure or material. The forms of these works are generally economical but, unlike early-modernist projects at the Weissenhof Estate, their attitude is not one of a radical break. Today’s public will not protest flat (or pitched) roofs and today’s architects will not claim to usher in a new style. If anything, these works relate to the vast, varied world of vernacular construction—to the majority of the built world that Architecture glosses over.
Specifically, here each house responds to one of the 9 climatic zones of Mexico. At first glance, many of these works might not appear radically different from existing low-income housing. But upon closer study, the ingenuity of the projects selected whole yet retains their individual identities. The problem of low-income housing demands the thoughtful attention and expertise of architects like those included here. For, given the limited resources of such works, each decision gains greater significance and has greater impact on the design and on the life of its inhabitants.
This Welcome & Education Center serves as the administrative heart and entry point for a nine-acre master plan of social housing prototypes for Apan, México, also planned and designed by MOS. (Offering the potential for growth, the housing prototypes proposed by the 32 architects selected varyingly rethink fundamentals of spatial organization, rework labor and construction, or recast structure and material.) These prototype houses as well as circular planters for gardening, brick water towers for on-site water storage, and playgrounds for residents and the wider community are all informally arranged across the steeply sloped site and within a grove of trees. Permeable paving and local ground cover demonstrate easily replicable models for developing the surrounding terrain while maintaining biodiversity of the site and ensuring the success of on-site cultivation.
The 8,600 SF, ceramic brick Welcome & Education Center sits at the top of this slope. Open to the local context, it offers a place to survey the housing development downslope through east and west-facing corridors. Tasked with accepting large groups bused to the site, presenting all housing prototypes, educating students, and providing short-term workspace, the building includes: offices, a reading room, gallery, café, multipurpose room, and workshop.
Four interior courtyards separate these programs while allowing movement and views across/through the structure. These courtyards combine with five skylights, spanning the entire with of the interior; to provide ample ventilation and controlled light to programmed spaces. The entire structure is topped with an accessible green roof, on which visitors can circulate around cubic courtyards and cylindrical skylights while viewing the surrounding city.