FROM ROOF TO FLOOR: dwelling the fifth facade

This is a conceptual one-family housing proposal called by INFONAVIT –Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores-, for the architecture exhibition FIVS –Foro Internacional de Vivienda Sustentable-.

Why center and not periphery?

The peripheral inhabitable space limits working opportunities and damages the social fabric. It alienates human capital from urban networks and it deprives the city of efficiency and productivity.

The goal is to rethink rooftop housing and to turn it into a dignified dwelling, unlike current conditions of people living on the fifth façade.

Why rooftops?

  • Rooftops are spaces of opportunity to build social housing. Using them for housing is an already existent phenomenon multiplying rapidly through all social sectors.
  • The intra-urban soil is scarce and expensive. Rooftop housing avoids predator expansion towards the periphery.


Benefits of increasing the population density in urban centers:

  • Optimizing urban soil in central cities. Avoiding massive growth of the periphery.
  • Shortening home-work distances. Reducing the use of automobiles or carbon footprints.
  • Using already existing infrastructures. Avoiding consolidation of new sites and reducing carbon footprint.
  • Capitalizing on the existent social fabric. Increasing an efficient benefit of family productivity in public spaces.
  • Efficiently integrating telecom networks, roads, public transportation and pedestrian transit. Increasing the flow of information, goods and services.
  • Turning the urban center plural and accessible to all social sectors. Regenerating public space, redistributing wealth and promoting cultural complexity.


Social housing on rooftops: an accessible, viable and formal model for different population groups

  • It is an existent informal phenomenon. It reflects efficient production practices which do not transfer to social housing spaces in the periphery.
  • Duplicating the land use at a low cost. Inaugurating a new property market.
  • Promoting the rehabilitation of existent buildings. Regenerating intra-urban space.
  • Promoting “viral” micro-urbanism adaptable to the needs, restrictions and budget of each building. Activating a “bottom-up” ascending strategy that recycles urban space.
  • Financing water harvesting and use of solar panels. Outlaying resources for the existent building.


One Family Housing Model:

Prefabricated modular system easily built, low cost, progressive, multifunctional, light, green tech (rainwater harvesting, water recirculation and solar panels), bioclimatic (good insolation and thermic isolation), durable, low energy consumption, self-sustaining, with a program adaptable to different family models.


Each module is built from a modular panel system to build furnishings according to the needs of each inhabitant. Kitchen and bathroom, workspaces, closets and laundry are assembled.

Location: Mexico City
Program: Social Housing
Project: Rozana Montiel | Alin V. Wallach
Collaborators: Cecilia Brañas | Diana León | Valery Michalon | Luis Galán | Dulce Robles | Marga Oubinha
Project Year: 2014