IXTALTEPEC, Mexico – An NGO linking Mexican professionals around the world designs and builds earthquake-resistant clay houses for people who lost their homes to temblors in the southern state of Oaxaca.
“The circular structure keeps the seismic wave from damaging a critical point,” Filiberto Lara, the civil engineer in charge of the project told EFE. “The pyramid shape is the most stable (structure). This combination renders the houses practically indestructible.”
Inspired by the studies conducted by the California Institute of Earth Architecture (Cal Earth), Lara’s design features stone-coated clay walls that act as insulation from the intense heat in the region.
The engineer said that this type of structure – which takes three months to build – has undergone earthquake, fire and flood tests in the United States and “nothing has happened to them.”
Teresa Guzman – who lost her home in the September earthquakes – will be the first person to benefit from the anti-earthquake structure created by the NGO Red Global MX.
The home is almost finished and will consist of four pyramid-shaped modules and a central five-square-meter (53.8-square foot) living room, a bathroom, a kitchen and a bedroom.
This first prototype will cost 230,000 pesos ($12,256) – which will be paid for by Mexicans living abroad via a fundraiser – although Lara said that the cost of later homes will drop to 200,000 pesos ($10,750).
The project began in November but has been delayed due to a lack of funds and manpower.
Oaxaca is the state with the highest level of seismic activity in Mexico and many towns were severely damaged by the Sept. 7 and 19 2017 earthquakes, which also affected Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Guerrero, Puebla and Tlaxcala, leaving a death toll of 471.