James Stirling, Low-cost Housing, Lima, 1971
James Stirling, Low-cost Housing, Lima, 1971 (view in Google maps)
The project was a sponsored competition entry for low-cost housing in Peru. Architects were asked to design a house with substantial do-it-yourself element with an evolutionary form.
Stirling’s answer to the problem was to plan each house around central patio, acting as a garden. As the house expanded the garden become a ventilation shaft and a well of light. Corridors connecting the living accommodation and the entrance to the bedrooms were on two sides of this garden.
First-build consists of precast wall and floor units. Thereafter roof and floor units are lightweight reinforced beams with hollow pot infill which could be man erected to allow self-help construction to take over. Houses are grouped in fours around a service patio and these are then combined into clusters of 20-22 houses around a common entrance patio. The neighborhood consists of twenty clusters and two typical neighborhoods are shown on bottom right.
At it smallest the house is L-shaped within the standard contractor’s first-build of an enclosed square—two bedrooms and a combined kitchen, dining and living room. As the house increases, a wall separates living from dining and cooking and at its upper limit—when ground plot is completely filled—it becomes a house for a family of 12 people .