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Renca

Santiago, Chile
1 of 6Author's Web

The site was chosen and managed by the benefited families, who used to live in several adjacent slums. Nevertheless, soil conditions were really bad: the place had been excavated for years to make bricks and afterwards it had been illegally filled with building waste. This forced the architect to replace the soil of the site in a depth of 3m, with a cost equivalent to 4 times the site.

Given the cost of soil improvement, design decisions of the compound were essential in the development of the project. First, the construction of passages were prioritized, with a single access from Avenida Brasil. Each passage hosts a maximum of 25 dwellings, which facilitates the control and maintenance of community spaces. Secondly, architects used a vertical-growth house that helped “compacting” the compound the most by reducing by one third the surface of the soil to improve. That third was used to put the removed debris, eliminating the cost of removal and right to dump. The built mound, on which a park is developed, protects the compound from the highway. The housing unit is defined by structural 3 floors high partition walls. All complex items of 170 incremental housing units with community center (firewall, facilities, circulation, and structure) are associated to this wall. This system generates a triple height interior void, in which families can build horizontal divisions.