FACA – Study and Initial Design for Housing Association ‘La Union’

Recently we finished schematic design for the houses of the 50 families of La Union in Facatativa, Colombia.

A BOOKLET OF THE FULL DESIGN of the architecture, landscape, and socio-economic systems for La Union can be seen here:

 FACA – Study and Design for Housing Association ‘La Union’ can also be purchased via lulu.com


Greenhouses for flowers on the road from Bogota to Facatativa

 Facatativa has three major ecological problems. First, the flower industry uses large swatches of land and water, displacing many farmers. Second, the inhabitants of Facatativa are faced with constant water shortages. Finally, Facatativa has seen a trend towards the privatization of open spaces. The design of La Union places productive public landscapes that collect water within the housing development.

Landscape Diagram

Masterplan of La union

Social housing in Colombia today is characterized by the goal to get as many housing units into a lot. The strategy works to put as many people into housing as possible but it ultimately ignores larger social and environmental systems. The typical social row-housing complex, for example, is comprised of houses with 4m (13ft) facades by 10m (34ft) in width. With such narrow facades the houses lack appropriate openings for lighting, ventilation and passive solar heating. This stands in contrast to Colombia’s traditional courtyard house which was well lit and ventilated. As an alternative DSGN AGNC has sought to bring together the need for a larger housing stock with the environmental and social benefits of the traditional courtyard housing.

 Current Social Housing in Bogota, Colombia – Inflexible Structures and Monotonous Facades

A new patio, similar to the traditional Colombian house, can be placed inside of Social housing

Diagram showing core-tyard inside of house – bringing light and ventilation, utilities and circulation

Structure and material diagram

Facade elevation showing flexibility of materials and uses in the first floor, giving each family choices

 Eight-unit housing block before growing (flexible interior spaces)

 Third floor flexible spaces – GREEN: semi-public community/economic space RED: private

Eight unit housing block with four houses in each side

La Union Masterplan with Housing

Center street in La Union

Third floor public space perspective
Over the next few months DSGN AGNC will continue to work with La Union to develop the designs. Through on-going community meetings the families have voiced support for the current design and have given feedback. We will continue to hold such meetings as the project moves forward.

La Union, DSGN AGNC, and ProMujer hope to begin construction soon. Construction will happen in phases. Fundacion ProMujer, our partner non-profit in Colombia, is currently working with each family and Colombia’s government to secure the subsidies that will make the project a reality.

Gisselle Cifuentes-Ramirez from ProMujer shows DSGN AGNC’s housing design to the families of La Union.

Team for this project:
Quilian Riano (Project Design Manager), DK Osseo-Asare, Danielle Letitia, Nicholas Ter Meer and Zenon Tech-Czarny
Graphic Design Help:
Mark Gusmann
Other Help:
Patricia Florescu
Partners in Colombia:
Lina Maria Rosales, DSGN AGNC intern, with help from William Barreto and Gisselle Cifuentes-Ramirez from Fundacion ProMujer

This project and booklet has been produced in part thanks to a research grant from the Boston Society of Architects.

DSGN AGNC’s Quilian Riano will be presenting the latest design for La Union at the J. Max Bond Jr. Memorial Lecture:Conversations/Travel at the Center for Architecture this Saturday November 6th at 2:00PM.

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