Coliving Interlomas is a student-oriented residential project located to the western-outside Mexico City, which proposes an architecture that brings together life and studying in community, following space optimization principles in a shared living system.
The complex features four levels in which the bedrooms and the common areas complement each other. The rest of the program is composed of two study rooms, a recreational area, two lounge areas in a roof garden, two integral kitchens, a dining room, a gym, and a service area for maintenance.
The architectural shape is born from a volumetric experimentation with the site, as well as the challenge to create private and public areas for twelve students. Three privacy levels were defined: the bedrooms, the internal common spaces, and the public areas that flow towards the outside. An initial volume was dismembered into four towers which contain the bedrooms. Between these towers there are wide open, common-use areas which foster the project’s vibrant community life.
Coliving Interlomas rescues the principle of building public space and takes it to a micro scale through recreational, contemplative and rest areas. It is an exercise in co-living that proposes dignified and sustainable dimensions which are the result of an extensive analysis on space usage and day-to-day objects with a projection to the future and new ways of achieving habitability.
The project reinterprets the traditional dichotomy of the courtyard house by leaving interior squares for each of the spaces, thus giving them dignified vitality, since every one of them has natural lighting, ventilation, and vegetation.
Regarding the project’s materiality, one of the main elements that gives it its unique character, as well as thermal warmth and singularity, is the prominent use of corrugated concrete. Every corrugated concrete wall is different from each other due to the imperfection of the technique, which gives it a unique living experience. The walls, which are very low maintenance, create a rich mix of textures and stony hues. The fixed wooden furniture creates a visual contrast and has an important role in shaping the shared spaces, in some cases functioning as dividing walls, and in others as elements that help differentiate spaces between them, creating interesting paths in the process.
Technical and constructive challenges
Coliving Interlomas is the result of a completely artisanal approach to the procedure and relationship with exposed concrete. During the construction process, several technical trials were held to achieve the final corrugated concrete effect. Formwork trials with different types of metal sheets and wood were made until the ideal technique, in which none of the corrugated waves peeled off, was achieved. This is the reason why the corrugation is slightly slanted, instead of at a straight 90º angle. Every wall features light variations, but they maintain the same quality and resistance. Structural concrete was used in all the architectural projects and reinforced with waterproofing paint and waterproofing liquids that repel water. This is because it was designed to be architecturally resilient, designed to live a long, timeless, and productive life that could house both intimate and functional spaces, from design to construction. Following the ambivalence of industrial and artisanal processes, Housing Interlomas’s facade features a concrete lattice, and the rooftop’s flooring was made using mechanized brickwork, both national products.
The landscape design was thought of as a green productive system, with vegetation such as: passionflower, lime, lemon and guaba. This means to put forward a healthy lifestyle that goes beyond aesthetic function. It was important to think of spatial structures that would help the co-habitants of the project to have a more direct relationship to the vegetation and its produce. Anyone can eat the apples or oranges that have been planted and harvested on site.
Coliving Interlomas’s biggest challenge goes beyond the current discussion around the architectural object: it is building a community through caring for the built and social environment.