Mexican Emergency Housing

Location: Mexico
Year: 2019
Type: Competition
Status: Honorable Mention
Materials: Corrugated Iron and Wood


Like a mother,the mother house gives a part of herself to new additions of the family. With each new additional modules, the existing wall of the mother house lifts to become the roof of the new addition. Previous windows become new doorways. Exterior walls become interior partition walls. Nothing is wasted and minimal new materials are needed for additional modules to be added. The mother house is designed in a way that one of her wall is the same dimension as the roof, so in theory the wall cladding can transform into the roof cladding of a new addition mirroring her dimensions.

The Mother house is extremely strong. Using corrugated iron as a structural armor that wraps her entirety. The corrugations run perpendicular to the studs—providing additional stabilizing force, so noggins are minimized. Corrugated iron roofing is light, affordable, strong and infinitely recyclable. Corrugated iron uses the least the amount of material to provide the physical properties needed for construction. By using the same material for wall and the roof, inventory and supply chain is simplified. The walls wrap around the edge of the roof providing complete waterproofing without secondary materials. Even glazing is provided using corrugated polycarbonate panels. Polycarbonate is one of the strongest and cheapest transparent polymers. The interior of the house is clad in multi-wall polycarbonate sheets. This provides complete air tightness and insulation. At the same time giving the interior a finished looked with minimal costs.

The recyclability and toughness of corrugated iron lends itself for transporting to a new site if the houses need to be moved or demolished. Unlike fibre cement panels which end up in  landfill and can often crack during transport if not handled properly.

Lastly the mother house is beautiful! Living in a simple yet elegent space gives people Aspiration for a better life. Even thought materials are cheap and simple they can be used in ways that rival even the most lavishly furnished mansions. The mother house might cost the price of an emergency shelter but it it’s designed with the same rigor and craft of real architecture.