Las higueras: An overture to the alternation of customizing incremental houses

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Incremental housing, supported by governmental funding, denotes a solution for low-income households where dwellings can gradually customized by users. This article examines the process of incremental construction and proposes an alternation of two phases: the basic house design and its customization. When designing houses, government officials and architects should follow three sub-phases: developing the design of the house with households, presenting the final design to households, and supporting families’ habitation of the basic house. For the customization process, the professionals should pursue the three sub-phases guideline: inform households about building skills required for customization, discuss the different possibilities for completing the houses, and connect all this with households’ financial resources. The outcome is a template for self-building that synthesizes collecting data about the issues during customization for future incremental housing projects. This article is based on fieldwork analyzing “Las Higueras” (2006) incremental housing project in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, assessing the families’ capabilities to subsequently customize their houses, and using qualitative research methods in collaboration with Las Higueras, the Chilean Ministry of Housing and Urban Design, and Gubbins architecture studio.

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Revista INVI

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