The 32 projects selected exhibit an 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.
Project team: Michael Meredith, Hilary Sample, Cyrus Dochow, Paul Ruppert, Fancheng Fei, Michael Abel, Mark Acciari, Lafina Eptaminitaki, Mark Kamish