Experimental Low-Cost Modular Housing Made of Pine

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When it comes to budget-friendly beauty, few building materials can beat pine. Natural, renewable, recyclable and lower in cost than many alternatives, pine looks and feels so much warmer and more pleasant than cement blocks, reclaimed shipping containers and other things commonly used for budget housing.

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A new project in Mexico shows off the results of experimental affordable housing made of pine. “Apan Prototype” by Dellekamp + Schleich is part of a program designed by the Center for Research for Sustainable Development (CIDS) that aims to improve rural housing solutions in Mexico. The architecture firm’s entry was one of 33 projects built as part of a master plan of low cost housing prototypes that can be replicated and customized in other places.

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“Through a modular system of wood construction (one of the economic pillars of the municipality) that adopts the basic and familiar principles of vernacular architecture, the proposed housing unit offers the possibility of adapting to different programmatic and contextual situations. Relying on two local resources readily available, pine wood and the methods of vernacular construction mentioned above, the main element of this project is that it allows growth and that it is assembled in a very simple way in order to allow self-construction.”

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Seen set against the other entries in the program, the house is a definite standout. Instead of presenting a stark contrast to the kind of architecture that’s commonly seen in the area, it blends in, with no harsh lines or industrial-feeling surfaces, which can feel cold and sterile. Instead, all the character that comes with wood shines through. It may not have cost much to build, but it doesn’t feel like quality and comfort have been sacrificed to achieve a low price tag.

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