top of page

Prefabricated Roof Home

La Calera - Bogota - Colombia

Rural Home

Lead Architects
Sebastián Contreras Rodríguez (Estación Espacial Arquitectos) + SCA (Sociedad Colombiana de Arquitectura)

85 m2 - (2 Levels, 3 Bedrooms, 1Bathroom, Launch, Dinner Room, Kitchen - Laundry)

Sebastián Contreras Rodríguez (Estación Espacial Arquitectos) + Wilman Chaparro

Affiliated companies
Steel: Corpacero.
Walls: Etex.
Windows: Vano.
Painting: Pintuco.

Project Year

Sebastian Contreras

The project is a work of the Chilean architect and researcher Sebastián Contreras Rodríguez, who designs and builds the second Casa Techo made in Colombia, in conjunction with the Colombian Society of Architects, a civil association of professional interest that promotes architecture and urban planning. It is a prototype of rural social housing designed in the habitability and dignity of the peasant.
Houses in vulnerable areas, electric intermittence, improvised sanitary systems, are some of the problems that the Colombian peasant lives on a daily basis. This has as a consequence that when we talk about rurality we have an image of poverty and lack of opportunities, which has triggered an exodus from the countryside to the city and the abandonment of productive agricultural and forestry activities essential for family support.
The prototype Casa Techo - prefabricated rural social housing, is born from a reflection on how people live today in the Colombian countryside; a territory of encounters and disagreements, of internal movements, of productive fertility, traditions, flavors, colors and of Peasants who every day seek an opportunity in this medium for many abandoned.
According to DANE (2013), there was a lack of more housing in rural areas than in the city. This implies large-scale interventions, in extensive territories, pronounced geographies, diverse cultures and in many cases extreme climates. Leaving this in the hands of the market, who seeks commercial returns as it has done in the city, would lead the Camp to an unfortunate situation. We must not forget that 94% of the Colombian territory is considered rural and that there live around 15 million Peasants.
If we look at the landscape and the peri-urban and rural areas of our territory, we can see that our society self-constructs a large part of its homes. Their trade, so to speak, allows them a certain facility, to build with brick, wood or adobe walls, but not a roof. Saving a light, something so everyday in architecture, for a family is a great job.
It is from this constructive spatial observation, typical of our territory, that the question that arises in this project arises. If people know how to build a wall, why not design a roof that is a home, and that deliver the most difficult to build for families?

We believe that a roof is more than a structure, it is a habitable place, a spatial surface that protects from the inclemency of the weather, it is what people claim in the streets, it is an essential element when we think about a house. Apart from being constructed of different materials, it represents a longing and desire to live in dignity. A Roof is a primitive element of our ancestral cultures; La Maloca, Ruca, Choza, are spaces built mostly as a roof. El Techo is the spatial cultural essence from which this project is argued.


We allow ourselves to include in the definition of the word ceiling, the symbolic variable characteristic of the desire of our society and our own, insofar as it is essential to our living. A roof is more than the structure of a house, it is a desire to live in dignity.


PREFABRICATED ROOF HOUSING is located in the municipality of La Calera, Buenos Aires, at an hour and a half from the city of Bogotá towards the east, at 3000 meters above sea level, which generates an average temperature that fluctuates between 12 and 20 degrees Celsius.


Inspired by the indigenous architecture of a large part of the Colombian Amazon, the house is designed for a peasant family. Inside we find a house that is organized on two levels. In the first there are two bedrooms, a bathroom, a dining room and a double height kitchen (6.5 meters high). On the second level the main room, balconea on the social area of ​​the house.



Architecture as a built spatial fact has always been linked to technical factors of manufacturing and industrialization, even so in the last decades technological advances have not been applied directly to construction and design, that is observed today in rural homes, built mostly of concrete. The separation that exists today between technology and construction has resulted in an inefficiency of the construction processes that are already evident in our cities and even more so in rural areas. To design it is essential to know the tools that are available, therefore to make architecture is essential to know the processes of construction.


It seems important in times of ecological crisis and overpopulation, to look again and understand the architecture thought from its prefabrication. In the whole process of design and construction that we have developed to carry out this prototype in the Calera, we are interested in something in particular, and it is the search above all for an efficiency in the built processes, but with a greater objective, that of measuring the constructive impact of the work on the place, on the natural environment. Decrease the impact of construction on the rural environment, we are talking about peasant housing in diverse climates and geographies, added to the current high deficit of rural housing, it seems a necessary problem to solve. The question is complex, how to supply the housing deficit with quantity and quality, and at the same time lower the impact of construction instead?


The variables in play to solve the equation of an isolated rural social housing are 12: (without order of priority)


1. Transportation, Accessibility

2. Context Political Social Culture

3. Materiality / Vernacular

4. Cost

5. Comfort / Dignity

6. Topography, Pending

7. Progressive growth

8. Climate, Temperature

9. Food production, economic

10. Replicability / Prefabrication

11. Community building.

12. Environmental impact.


The variables that most influence the design and construction process have to do with geographic factors linked to housing. Distances, climates, topographies and spatial flexibility and of course associated with these, the cultural factors of human groups living in community, as the peasant tends to do, are the factors that condition the design of isolated rural social housing.


That is why we wanted to think about an architecture that prefabricated an important part of its construction, in this case the Roof, the great envelope of the house, it is this roof that arms 70% of the house. The interior walls are of elementary construction, and adaptable to any material. It is the roof that is prefabricated and constitutes the house.


The proposal is based on a basic principle of support that allows to build a living space covered by two inclined planes supported together forming a traction triangle. The prefabricated steel structure composed of triangular frames, make up the volume of the house and stiffen the roof. The prefabricated pieces of serial steel are assembled in-situ, after a simple assembly phase the structural whole of the Ceiling Housing was formed. All systems associated with housing, be these lightweight structures for walls and floors, sanitary system, electrical, have been designed and built in the factory.


What we are interested in deepening, is related to the construction actions on the ground, which in this case are essentially assembly and assembly, and not construction. Being a housing 70% roof, and being this element that is prefabricated, the impact on the ground tends to be lower.


Therefore we could say that the way to recognize the degree of prefabrication of a work is quantifying the amount of waste generated in the place, knowing that the greater the amount of debris and waste, the less prefabrication index of the home and the greater impact on the place.


The benefits of a prefabricated architecture was already advanced by the French designer and architect Jean Prouvé, when he said that prefabrication entails, in most cases, an increase in quality, improvement of the product, safety of the final result and less impact on the place .



Sebastián Contreras Rodríguez


Master of Architecture

Diploma in Urban Planning and Management.


The SDG in which this project is inscribed are 

bottom of page