Co-living Interlomas: Shared Living System

A-001

Architects: A-001
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Year: 2021
Photography: Sandra Pereznieto

Housing Interlomas is a student-oriented residential project located to the west of Mexico City, which proposes an architecture that brings together life and studying in community, following space optimization principles in a shared living system.

The complex features four levels in which the bedrooms and the common areas complement each other. The rest of the program is composed of two study rooms, a recreational area, two lounge areas in a roof garden, two full kitchens, a dining room, a gym, and a service area for maintenance.

The architectural form is the result of a volumetric experimentation with the site, as well as the challenge of creating private and public areas for 12 students. Three privacy levels were defined: the bedrooms, the internal common spaces, and the public areas that connect with the outside. An initial volume was divided into four towers which contain the bedrooms. Between these towers there are open common-use areas which foster the project’s vibrant community life.

Housing Interlomas rescues the principle of building public space and takes it onto a micro scale through recreational, contemplative and rest areas. It is an exercise in co-living that proposes dignified and sustainable dimensions which are the result of an extensive analysis on space usage and day-to-day objects with a view to the future and new ways of achieving habitability.

The project reinterprets the traditional dichotomy of the courtyard house by generating interior squares for each of the spaces, thus giving them dignified living conditions, since every one of them has natural lighting, ventilation, and vegetation.

Regarding the project’s materiality, one of the main elements that gives it its unique character, as well as thermal warmth and singularity, is the prominent use of corrugated concrete. Every corrugated concrete wall is different from the next due to the imperfection of the technique, which promotes a unique living experience. The walls, which are very low maintenance, create a rich mix of textures and stony hues. The fixed wooden furniture creates a visual contrast and plays an important role in shaping the shared spaces – in some cases functioning as dividing walls and in others as elements that help differentiate spaces, creating interesting paths in the process. 

Technical and Constructive Challenges

Housing Interlomas is the result of a completely artisanal approach to the procedure and relationship with exposed concrete. During the construction process, several technical trials were conducted to achieve the final corrugated concrete effect. Formwork trials with different types of metal sheets and wood were undertaken until the ideal technique, in which none of the corrugated waves peeled off, was achieved. This is the reason why the corrugation is slightly slanted, instead of at a straight 90º angle. Every wall features light variations, but they maintain the same quality and resistance. Structural concrete was used throughout and reinforced with waterproofing paint and waterproofing liquids that repel water.

This is because Housing Interlomas was designed to be architecturally resilient, designed to last, with an extended productive life cycle capable of housing both intimate and functional spaces, from design to construction. Following the ambivalence of industrial and artisanal processes, Housing Interlomas’s façade features a concrete lattice, and the rooftop’s flooring was made using mechanized brickwork, both national products.

The landscape design was developed as a green productive system, with vegetation such as passionflower, lime, lemon and guaba. This is intended to put forward a healthy lifestyle that goes beyond aesthetic function. It was important to think of spatial structures that would help the co-habitants of the project to have a more direct relationship to the vegetation and its produce. Anyone can eat the apples or oranges that have been planted and harvested on site.

Housing Interlomas’s biggest challenge goes beyond the current discussion around the architectural object: it builds a community through caring for the built and social environment.