11. LOW COST BUILDING SYSTEMS FOR BARRIO HISTORICO
Outline drawing of floor plan.
It seemed clear that certain relocation problems could arise as a result of the combined processes of historic districting and the restoration of individual historic structures. We, therefore, decided to develop design proposals for low-income housing appropriate for this purpose. Three main criteria were involved:
It was then decided that the most appropriate means to accomplish our goals would be through the development of a new medium--to high-density, low-rise housing systems suitable for use on some of the Barrio's substantial areas of vacant land.
The first stage of our system design development was concerned with the formulation of design objectives based on the goals and limits we set for the problem. Diagrammatically the design approach can be seen as:
1. Physical - Economic.
Fig. 11.1. - Prefabricated Mechanical/Plumbing Core.
BASIC UTILITY CORE UNIT
CORE UNIT WITH CLOSETS
2. Social - Psychological
With the above design objectives in mind, we formulated a prefabricated mechanical/plumbing utility core, as shown in the large-scale plans (See Fig. 11.1) then used it as a central element around which to organize 12-foot (one bedroom) and 24-foot (three bedroom) row house plans (Fig. 11.2), as well as two and three bedroom detached residential plans (Fig. 11.3)
Fig. 11.2 - One and three bedroom row house schemes employing the basic mechanical/plumbing core.
Fig. 11.3 - Two and three bedroom detached residence schemes employing the basic mechanical/plumbing core.
An alternate housing system was formulated utilizing the "Mitchell" structural system developed by Prof. Neal Mitchell while on the faculty of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. There are four reinforced components made of light-weight cellular concrete, each of which may be lifted and placed by two men. These components are the column, tie beam, cantilever beam, and slab, forming square structural bays when erected. Non-bearing infill panels of low-cost, locally available materials are inset at the construction site (Figs. 11.4&11.7).
In the historic district, one-story dwellings of various configurations have been developed using this system (See Figs. 11.5&11.6). It should be noted that this system is capable of forming up to two, three or four-story units for more dense housing needs, applicable to areas outside the historic zone. In the plans illustrated, the bay containing the mechanical, plumbing and bathroom facilities may be a preassembled service module manufactured locally and transported to the site during erection of the structural frame. A fourteen foot bay was chosen for planning purposes and used in conjunction with a masonry street elevation.
Fig. 11.4. - "Mitchell" industrial building system - structural bay.
Fig. 11.5. - One and two bedroom rowhouse schemes employing the "Mitchell" structural system.
Fig. 11.6. - Two bedroom detached residence plan, employing the "Mitchell" structural system.
Fig. 11.7. - Within the flourishing future historic district, new building methods can be developed as appropriate solutions to the problem of infill housing on vacant lots or to replace demolished structures. That the new may be juxtaposed in harmonious relationship with the old, reinforcing and enhancing distinctive features, new building systems should conform to existing heights and setbacks, inviting a sensitive response to certain other design criteria, yet allowing freedom of choice among them. Shown here is a continuous street front wall in the masonry tradition of the neighborhood, but in concrete block utilizing new methods which are without mortar joints (Corning Glass) or virtually so (Threadline). The block is laid without level or line and requires no tamping, with a corresponding saving in labor costs. Stiffened at periodic doorway openings, folding back to create the characteristic recess, it is used here to form street facades in conjunction with the Neal Mitchell Associates' framing system, which is ideally suited to both self-help construction and row housing.