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Rural Habitat

‘Rural Habitat’ represents the collaborative effort and visions of Mobile Workshop Architects (MWA) and NGO Vasco de Quiroga PSXXI (VSQPSXXI).

For a number of years Mobile Workshop Architects have undertaken research to develop dignified, low budget housing. After seeing current government/ NGO designs for low budget housing, MWA decided to creatively re-imagine rural dwelling design on similarly tight budgets.

In 2012, VSQPSXXI was selected among the top 50 finalist of the Mexican initiative award, ‘Iniciativa Mexico’, for their technological development plan that helps rural Mexican communities to offset their carbon footprint. A key component of this plan included the introduction of a new design of biomass stove, which reduces the amount of wood required and discharges fumes away from its users. VSQPSXXI joined forces with MWA after looking for architects who could design dwellings that included this new stove and further implement Vasco de Quiroga’s vision to create ‘hospital-towns’.

Rural Habitat’ started as an initiative to improve living conditions for people in remote Mexican communities. The project was designed to dignify and improve the quality of life for rural Mexicans by providing affordable, low cost housing and sanitation. The design concept was literally to give people a roof “over their heads” using minimal architectural elements. In accordance with this design principle the roof curves to become the walls of the house.

‘Rural Habitat’ is more than a house design, it is a social development initiative that integrates and enhances community wealth, health and technological progress, enabling people to live in harmony with their environment, while respecting cultural and traditional ways of life.

This exhibition at Customs House aims to heighten awareness of some of the challenges facing rural and remote Mexican communities and to share our architectural and social design solutions. The ‘Rural Habitat’ project celebrates cultural inheritance and respects the way of life of rural Mexicans. It seeks to improve their lives through constructive and culturally sensitive means, by encouraging rather than imposing ideas. This project uses simple construction and logistic systems; pursuing highly creative and innovative methods to observe extremely low budgets.

We believe that what’s important both at an individual and community level, is not just the fulfilment of physical necessities but that it is equally essential to care for peoples metaphysical needs. The project has developed over time evolving new ideas and overcoming hurdles in the design and construction process to strengthen the development platform. We hope this exhibit inspires others to take on the challenge of formulating new ideas and sustainable utopias which break traditional paradigms.