The cumbe housing project proposes a system made up of modules, which can be assembled together or customized depending on the specific needs of each family. every structure is made up of bolted units of columns and prefabricated beams from reforested timber. rather than using traditional wooden construction, bernardo horta chooses prefabrication to reduce time on site and therefore lower construction costs while also affording more adaptability. to avoid problems caused by soil moisture, the buildings are raised; recycled and concrete-filled tires serve as foundations.
This construction system allows different materials to be applied to the primary structure, bringing local techniques to a contemporary process and meaning the proposed buildings can be adapted to their context. in this way, flexibility in the use of components (doors, windows, windshields, roof and objects) and in the grouping of modules, allows the housing system to be improved whenever new partnerships are created between owners, suppliers and the community.
Traditional construction and regional wooden handicrafts and fabrics are restored in various ways. the walls in the longitudinal direction of the buildings follow the traditional method of pau-a-pique (a mixture of clay, sand and straw). the front and rear elevations can be varied (using muxarabi, straw, wooden shutters, or fabric) according to the user’s needs. at the same time, these materials can create an interesting play of light and shadow that establishes an interior and exterior relationship through controlled permeability.
Another important concept for the project is to encourage community living. the idea of an open architecture allows for various appropriations of public and semi-public space, guaranteeing socializing between residents and increasing neighborhood ties through the large porch areas.