Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement

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Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Child Care

Estudio Teddy Cruz. Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Child Care

TEDDY CRUZ: My name Is Teddy Cruz, and I'm the designer of the projects Casa Familiar, Living Rooms at the Border, Senior Housing With Child Care. Casa Familiar is a very progressive non-profit community-based organization located in the border neighborhood of San Ysidro between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California.

Part of the challenge in this small neighborhood has been how can we produce a variation of housing types that can support very different demographics, very different characters in the neighborhood, and ultimately, can support very different housing economies.

GLENN LOWRY: As part of this project, Cruz proposed a new system of housing for senior citizens.

TEDDY CRUZ: Usually for senior housing, you find this large building with all the units, you know, crammed in the middle of it here we thought instead of one building, why don't we build 13 granny flats—small environments that give the seniors independence but at the same time, the possibility of coming together.

And basically the idea of plugging a nursery—a child care facility to this senior housing so that the seniors can actually take care of their own grandchildren, but also the grandchildren in a community.

Kitchens are located tactically, so that they open into social spaces. And this rhythm of roofs that go up and down also serve as a small infrastructure for photovoltaic panels and other ideas of water retention and so on so that when the roofs go downward, they collect water when the roofs go upward, they basically support solar energy efficient systems and so on.

My desire, as a designer, is to suggest that at this very moment in time is a moment to re-think the relationship between the social and the aesthetic, between the political and the spatial.