Sustainable community construction platform with natural materials to combat housing poverty in rural areas and indigenous territories through inclusive participatory design.

The “Mujeres Sembrando la Vida” Cooperative is made up of 250 artisan women who recover the waist loom and traditional Tzotzil embroideries from Zinacantán, Chiapas.

They had a very degraded construction of adobe, tile and wood of 33m2 that was used for different purposes. It was necessary to expand the plan and height to accommodate various activities (waist weaving workshop, kitchen, receiving tourists, breakfast for the community school), in addition to seeking better lighting, circulation and ventilation conditions, it was necessary to change the height: “Tourists always hit their heads when they visit us”- Xunca (Leader of the cooperative).

All its elements of the existing construction (which was in a serious state of degradation) were reused for the new construction, the materials of the extension are local and handmade. A stone foundation was built, load-bearing adobe walls, plastered and finished in earth and lime, as well as wooden roofs and handmade tiles. NO REINFORCEMENT CONCRETE OR STEEL WAS USED for any of the construction elements. The entire building was built using vernacular techniques.

All those involved help to build each element of the building, in order to have a complete knowledge of its materiality, care and restoration. In this way, it is empowered through technological transfer for the repetition of these techniques for the resolution of new future spaces that cover the needs of the community from self-management.

  • Architect: Programa VACA

Posted by Juan Carlos Loyo

Architect, Designer and Contemporary Artist born in Chihuahua, Mexico. In his architecture he uses vernacular and sustainable elements to build environments that invite the inhabitants to relate to the space through their senses. He is the founder of Programa VACA (Verano AprendeConstruyeAyuda “Summer Learn Construct Help”) a self-construction community program using natural materials to eradicate extreme poverty that has helped communities in Puebla, Querétaro, Chiapas and India. As a designer he aims for his furniture to result from using scrap material to create unique pieces. His work has been spread, shown, awarded and built in different countries. Currently, he runs his study and Programa VACA A.C. in Mexico City and focuses his passion in creating new things among architecture, industrial design, art and sustainable community construction projects.

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