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.
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.
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.
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.