Midwife House

Midwife´s house is a space for community inside donated property.
Petrona with her grandchildren and husband, standing in front of the bahareque facade.
Children celebrating the project
Interior View
Building community, trascending barriers
Floor Plan
Transversal Section
Petrona, the midwife.
Exploted Axonometric
A mother and her child
Petrona attending her first patient
East view of the project

Primary Authors

  • Belvet Echevarria
  • Monica Petricioli Macias
  • Eliseo Lucero Calderon
  • Adrian Fernando Sanchez Ramirez
  • Roberto Contreras Ochoa

Contributing Authors

  • Juan Manuel Casillas Pintor (Constructive Advisor)
  • Jesica Amescua Carrera / Comunal Taller (Project Advisor)
  • Mariana Ordoñez Grajalez / Comunal Taller (Project Advisor)

Author

  • Manuel Lopez Giron

Photographers

  • Onnis Luque Rodriguez

Objectives

Further than building a house, we look forward to build community, with an architectural object that addresses the need of a proper space in which traditional midwives could attend pregnant women, praising their ancestral labor that is offered as a solidary service. This house pretends to become a replicable model, enhancing the preservation of traditional midwives' practice. Following our main goal, the project looks for recovering traditional building techniques, which take advantage of local resources, making them low embodied energy materials. During this process, community members were involved promoting a solidarity atmosphere within. Achieving a symbiosis between traditional experiences and technical knowledge. This is fulfilled by the implementation of a participative design process between midwives, community members and students. Making an evolving project through the process, that adjusts constantly in order to solve each specific necessity. In this way, architecture is a game changing tool that transcends barriers, providing more conscious solutions according to the specific cultural, climate and environmental conditions.

Context

Immersed in a tropical mountainous region, emerges a Tzeltal community named Kokil, where 90% of pregnant women prefer to be attended by traditional midwives, who speak the same language as them, rather than doctors who are unaware of their culture and traditions. Since midwives don´t have special equipment or an adequate place to offer their services, they receive pregnant women in their own bedrooms, which in the majority of cases, does not gather optimal hygienic conditions. In addition to this, these places are inaccessible due to the lack of road infrastructure and rugged topography. Since we became aware of these facts, the urge to make a difference in the community triggered the creation of a project that could improve the life quality, not only of midwives, but also of the whole community.

Performance

The midwife shared a portion of her property, becoming a commmunitary space in which more than a thousand women could be attended during the pregnancy process. A participative diagnostic was done in order to understand the real needs of the place; this brings us to propose a sensitive project, which emerges from the ancestral roots of the community, making a tangible solution for the most primary activity of life, birth. One of the main objectives of the project is to reduce the environmental impact by gradually recuperating the traditional building techniques, including the bahareque wall, which is made of a bamboo structure, and a mixture of soil, fibers, and water. In this case, recycled plastic bottles were placed inside the wall to lighten its weight. The structure and walls were built out of local wood, reducing transportation costs. These techniques, used wisely, are friendly with the environment; our goal was to integrate them with new technologies such as, water recollection, cross ventilation, and the correct and conscious use of industrialized materials. The result was an adequate proposal for the site context, climate and the architectural typologies. On the other hand, due to the constructive easiness and economic viability, the project became a guideline for the development of further constructions in the surrounding communities.

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Midwife´s house is a space for community inside donated property.