Blaanc Borderless and Caeiro Capurso Team Up to Tackle Rural
by Nicholas Tamarin | Thursday, September 15, 2011
Two decades ago, architect Juan José Santibañez decided that he would channel his professional knowledge into charity by helping 20 impoverished women in his native Mexico—many supporting families on their own with no access to healthcare and housing after being abandoned by husbands who have migrated in search of work—build their own homes. Now, two recently formed firms, Blaanc Borderless Architecture and Caeiro Capurso, are joining forces with the affordable housing pioneer to start the Adobe for Women Association, an organization that is planning the construction of another twenty sustainable houses in the indigenous village of San Juan Mixtepec, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.
True to its name, the houses will be built with adobe, as well as other local materials like bamboo. They will feature rectangular plans with private and public areas formed by two intersecting arches that cross in the center of the structures. Topped with solar panels, the houses will also include patios off the kitchens and be supported by a wooden structures lined with bamboo placed with gaps in between to allow for sunlight. Rain water will be collected from the roof and used in the kitchens and bathrooms, as well as for watering vegetable gardens after it passes through a gray water filter made up of gravel, plants, and coal. Traditional Estufa Lorenas, inherently energy efficient mud-and-sand stoves with chimneys that heat food with smoke from burning wood will be installed in the kitchens while “composting toilets,” a flushless system that turns human waste into nutrient products for the soil, will occupy the bathrooms and connect to a tube or chimney to expel hot air as it rises, leaving the indoor spaces with fresh air,
The construction of the first of the energy efficient houses, which will cost $ 5,275 each, began in March, with the women producing more than 40,000 adobe bricks using earth from nearby locales. Eight houses are currently in the works thanks to the help of a slew of volunteers, including local architecture students as ones based in Barcelona, Spain, and the organizations Casa Tierra and Architecture for Humanity.
Blaanc Borderless Architecture, a women-only team of four architects, Ana Morgado, Lara Camilla Pinho, Carmo Sousa Macedo Caldeira and Maria da Paz Sequeira Braga, is based in Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro while Caeiro Capurso was founded in Oaxaca by architects João Caeiro and Fulvio Capurso.
Renderings courtesy of Blaanc Borderless Architecture.