Building Blocks

An Incremental Housing Strategy

Nominated for the H.I. Feldman Prize

Fall 2019 | Tijuana, Mexico
Yale School of Architecture
Critic: Fernanda Canales + David Turturo

Mexico currently faces a severe housing shortage, but the amount of empty homes is simultaneously growing. Paseos del Vergel is a housing development in Tijuana that exemplifies the problem. The community is composed of 3,000 identical homes scattered across steep and disconnected topography. The intense terrain impedes communal continuity and circulation between home and school, housing project, and city.

Despite these issues, residents continue to personalize their homes and bring life to the otherwise sterile development. Building upon the ways existing conditions have already been adapted by residents, the project proposes formal and informal interventions that support community making. An incremental mixed-use housing strategy distributes investment across the entire site through a series of discrete improvements that current and future homeowners can make to their dwellings. The project is neither top down or bottom up, but rather critical interventions create a catalogue of possibilities that allow plug and play based on residents’ needs and desires.

A video of Building Blocks can be viewed here.