Habitat Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1971

Habitat Puerto Rico, sited on 20 acres of a steep hill in the San Patricio area of San Juan, was designed to provide the amenities of Habitat ’67 within the budget constraints of the Title 236 moderate-income housing program. Achieving a relatively high density community, as well as light and views by utilizing the natural slope of the site, the design was a prototype for developing similar unused portions of land on the island. At the crest of the hill are shops, cafes, community rooms and offices, 14-story high-rise towers and an outdoor amphitheater surveying the panoramic views. Pedestrians and cars travel entirely separate paths of circulation, with parking cut into the slope beneath each house. Substantial areas of the hill are left untouched to preserve the natural vegetation. Eight-hundred prefabricated, prefinished concrete housing units of forty square meters were to be delivered by truck or barge to the site. Cost was reduced by minimizing the need for interior stairs, eliminating structural complexity and consolidating plumbing. With all components installed in the factory – including bathrooms, kitchens, windows, mechanical and electrical systems – modules would be combined to form one- to four-bedroom unites in a variety of layouts. Each unit has complete visual and acoustical privacy and a private terrace shaded by cantilevered units overhead. The upper portions of the windows are louvered and shaded; the lower halves are clear glass. A prefabrication plant was built and the project commenced construction. Due to the government’s withdrawal of financial support, the developer abandoned the project with only 30 modules produced and in place.

Project Type: Residential

Client: State of Puerto Rico