Casa Caja

Comunidad Vivex, a non-profit organization founded by  the Mexican collaborative architecture studio S-AR designed the Casa Caja (Box House) trying to create a competitive and viable house typology for low to middle income families.

Casa Caja
Comunidad Vivex is a non-profit organization founded by S-AR, a collaborative architecture studio based in Monterrey-Mexico.
Their main objective is to make possible the access to architecture for low-income families based in a collaborative design process, planning and social work. Another purpose of the organization is to provide basic infrastructure to those Institutions that offer social support to poor or vulnerable communities. The Casa Caja (Box House) was developed under the methodology for social projects of Comunidad Vivex program. 
Casa Caja
S-AR + Comunidad Vivex, Casa Caja, Monterrey, Mexico

This project tries to create a competitive and viable house typology for low to middle income families.

The plot is located within a sub-urban area of General Zuazua in Nuevo Leon State. It has a standard measure of 7m x 15m. The local government and most of the real state developers in the area set this measurement.

As a social architecture project, the construction methodology pursues an active participation of the future users, as happen with the householder to be a constriction worker. This way they start setting roots, being responsible and committed with the development of the project.

S-AR + Comunidad Vivex, Casa Caja, Monterrey, Mexico
S-AR + Comunidad Vivex, Casa Caja, Monterrey, Mexico
The families that are being supported by Comunidad Vivex are families with one or more members related to the construction work. These make it simpler to understand and execute the projects. Paradoxically, it happens to be very common that a construction worker doesn’t own a house and have to pay rent to have a place to live with his family.  Many of the times, this place doesn’t have enough space, lighting, ventilating or salubrious conditions.
The house is defined like a box containing other boxes inside. The first box is placed in the middle of the plot, with a side left without construction. This generates a side yard that brings natural lighting and ventilation to the house. At the same time this free space can be used like an expansion for social activities defined by the first floor of the house. One room is placed in the ground floor, now days it’s used by the older son and in the future by the older parents.
S-AR + Comunidad Vivex, Casa Caja, Monterrey, Mexico
S-AR + Comunidad Vivex, Casa Caja, Monterrey, Mexico

The dinning and living room are located in the free space of the first floor. The stair box leaves some free space where the furniture of the living room and kitchen can be stored. Productive activity as groceries store or another commerce could be run in this space.

A lateral box is placed in the other side and stores the hydro sanitary and electric installations and also the stairs.

The private area is located in the second floor with a family room and two independent rooms. One side of this level has an enclosure made by doors allowing the user to regulate the privacy, lighting and ventilation in the rooms. Opposite to this, a more open enclosure in the lower level is linked with the side yard.

The house is build with concrete blocks that are not overlapped so it had to be reinforced.  Reinforced concrete slabs are light-weighted with clay blocks. The enclosures are made of wood and glass with wooden bars. The house is proposed as a permanent housing in a habitable stage with the facility for future improvement.

Casa Caja, Monterrey, Mexico
Program: Single-family Social Housing
Architects: S-AR + Comunidad Vivex
Project Team: Cesar Guerrero, Ana Cecilia Garza, Carlos Flores, Maria Sevilla
Contributors: Alejandra Rivero, Silvia Rodriguez, Berenice Reyna
Construction: Mr. Jesus Galvan, co-workers, friends and family
Client: Galvan Martinez Family
Area: 110 sqm
Completion: 2013

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