Client: Consorcio ARA
Location: Iztacalco, Mexico City
Year: 2009 – 2011
Project Design: a | 911
Design Leader: Saidee Springall + Jose Castillo
Design Team: Ernesto Lomelí, Iván Cervantes,
Edgar Romero Lugo, Arturo Carreón, Daniel García,
Iraiz Corona, Mónica Pedroza
Photographs: Rafael Gamo, Moritz Bernoully
This no-frills social housing project, developed for one of the largest homebuilders in Mexico shows that urban, mid-rise, high-density schemes perform better (economically, socially and environmentally) than the traditional model of single-family suburban developments in distant locations. Comprised of six blocks with courtyards and a total of 738 units in five different typologies, the project represents an alternative to low-income housing where the quality of the open space is instrumental in the production of a sense of community.
In October of 2011, the project was granted the National Housing Award, the most important institutional recognition to housing projects finished in all Mexico. The award was given amongst other things for the project recognizing that the forms of sustainability include the decision of where to site the housing, (in this case close to public transportation, and in central areas of the city), and the type of public communal space that is produced within the complex.
While always complex, to work by profit-driven developers, our notion of success in this case is defined by the fact that a homebuilder that produces over 25,000 units of housing a year is now aware that a better model for doing so is possible.
Each of the blocks has around 120 units, all facing the courtyards. There are four different typologies that vary from approximately 50 to 58 m². The retail on the ground floor of one side of the complex has also contributed to making this project a role model for mixed-use low income developments in other parts of the city.