Sustainable housing for lower income groups in Bolivia

For this graduation project, three major researches have taken place: An architectural research into design criteria, an urban research into the urban development of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) and a construction research to sustainable building materials which are accessible for the lower income groups in this city.
From the architectural research 13 design criteria were defined: Constructability, Extendibility, Sustainable water use, Facilitate economic activity, Developing houses with the community, Create neighbourhood relations, User friendly, Basic comfort, Low cost, Cradle to cradle, Minimal pollution, Optimal use of materials and Generate a future value. With de design criteria a basis house is developed and the need of growing horizontally as well as vertically is incorporated.
Based on the urban research the houses needed to be placed on the front of the parcel to create a clear distinction between the public and the private areas. Within the design of the basic house a semi-public space functioning as the living room in integrated. This space has the potential to be used for income generating activities. Through the years the street with become more diverse, because of vertical extensions and different economical activities.
From the construction research resulted that bamboo is a very sustainable and innovative building material. The bamboo stems are joined with a 3mm thick steel wire, also known as the “Delft wire lacing technique”. The jointing technique quality experiments showed that the bamboo stems slip away. Therefore the bamboo construction is build up with the Chinese method for bamboo building.

About Frank Reitsma