area 128 | informal community

architect: ELEMENTAL

location: Iquique, Chile

year: 2004

The challenge of our first project was to accommodate a hundred families using a subsidy of $7,500 dollars that in the best of the cases allowed for thirty-six square meters of built space in a 5,000 square meter site, which cost three times what social housing could normally afford. None of the solutions in the market solved the equation. So we thought of a typology that, as buildings, could make a very efficient use of land and as houses allowed for expansion. After a year, each property value was beyond $20,000 dollars. Still, all the families have preferred to stay and keep on improving their homes, instead of selling them.