Casa Caja: Low-Cost Concrete House Designed to DIY



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This simple house composed of donated, low-cost materials offers a template for affordable homes that can be designed and built by their owners with support from a local non-profit social housing project. Casa Caja by architecture office S-AR was built outside Monterrey, Mexico as the first in a series planned by the Comunidad Vivex program.

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The program addresses a shortage of quality, affordable housing in Mexico, finding solutions for low-income construction workers who can’t pay for homes with money but are capable of building them. The cinder blocks and other materials are donated by local companies.

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Casa Caja’s owners collaborated with the architects to create a design that would be ideal for their family’s needs. Each recipient of a Comunidad Vivex home must own their own land and be able to take care of most of the construction themselves, with help from friends and family.

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The prototype looks less like the low-income housing that’s commonly seen in Mexico and more like the sort of streamlined modern homes seen on design blogs. While cinder blocks could produce a less-than-welcoming interior, they’re balanced here by lots of white paint and large glazed walls that let sunlight come streaming in.

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