La Casa a la Carta: An affordable, exportable home for less than $15,000 US
The revolutionary housing concept developed by Dr Avi Friedman, director of the McGill School of Architecture Affordable Homes Program, receives much support by local contractors and governmental agencies. The exciting new project explores new export potential in Mexico.
For more information, please contact:
avifriedman [at] urbarc [dot] lan [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr Avi Friedman)
Michèle Tessier-Pepin, vice president and general manager
Société dhabitation du Québec:
Renée-Claude Boivin, press attaché
Cabinet du ministre des Affaires municipales
Responsable de lhabitation
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation:
Lise Hamilton, information agent
For the first time in Canada, the private sector, academia and the levels of government unite their efforts in the development of an affordable and exportable housing concept: La Casa a la Carta: The "à la carte" Home. The result of a partnership between Promexpo International, a division of Groupe Promexpo Inc., and the McGill School of Architecture Affordable Homes Program, this made-to-measure project benefits from the support of prestigious partners such as the Société dhabitation du Québec (SHQ) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
A joint initiative of Dr. Avi Friedman, director of McGill Universitys Affordable Homes Program and Michèle Tessier-Pepin, vice-president and general manager of Promexpo International, this extremely flexible housing concept which offers a number of "à la carte" options (base "public housing" model offered at less than $15,000 U.S.) will be presented exclusively as part of the Contact-Export Quebec-Canada Pavilion organized by Promexpo International at the ConstruExpo Show in Guadalajara, Mexico, next November 21 to 23.
"The Casa a la Carta project we are announcing today represents the result of a home grown architectural idea that Dr. Friedman and his team were able to develop for the greater housing good of people around the world," says Gretta Chambers, Chancellor of McGill University. "I am bursting with pride at the idea that these affordable, progressive, and now exportable homes, which are a tremendous showcase for Quebec savoir faire abroad, have come out of McGill."
The model home will be specially built for the exhibition by ARCHIMÈDE 2000 INC. of Montreal, who will subsequently set up the home on a permanent exhibition site in Guadalajara. In addition to the participation of ARCHIMÈDE 2000, La Casa a la Carta -- which has also benefited from the expert counsel of Mexican architect Guadalupe Dipp Reyes -- involves 20 or so Quebec manufacturers of products, technology and materials which will be used for the construction of the home.
This two-bedroom, 50-square-metre (500-square-foot) unit has been conceived to be expandable both vertically and horizontally. The architect has designed a narrow-front townhouse which incorporates land and infrastructure savings. From an options menu, the builder can select kitchen, bathroom and exterior finishes based on market conditions. Dr. Friedman, who also designed the Grow Home and the Next Home, helped Quebec manufacturers to modify their products to adapt them to Mexican demand and to the price of the homes.
An exportable housing concept!
"Current socio-demographic and economic trends have brought about fundamental changes in the residential construction industry in Quebec and demand new and daring solutions," says Dr. Avi Friedman, designer of the affordable, exportable housing project. Friedman adds that the major decline in the industry has made it necessary to seek out foreign markets for our housing and construction products.
The La Casa a la Carta on display in Guadalajara will therefore clear the way toward new business markets for Quebec and Canadian manufacturers who want to export their construction products not only to Mexico, but other Latin American countries as well. "We are proud to be associated with the McGill School of Architecture Affordable Homes Program for the first mission-exhibition of Promexpo International, a new division of Groupe Promexpo Inc., dedicated to opening new business markets for Quebec companies in the construction, housing, energy, urbanism, architecture, design and engineering sectors," explains Michèle Tessier-Pepin about Promexpo International.
For its part, the Société dhabitation du Québec has associated itself with the La Casa a la Carta project to assist in the production of adaptable and affordable homes favoring the export of Quebec housing products. "The La Casa a la Carta project fits perfectly within the Quebec governments new export and industry support objectives, particularly where small and medium-sized businesses are concerned," says Rémy Trudel, ministre des Affaires municipales, responsable de lHabitation.
"Its a new concept which admirably integrates several important dimensions. For one, its research and development sector has demonstrated an awareness about adapting products destined for a foreign market. It also raises the profile of Quebec housing products. In addition, its a good example of collaboration where contributors from academia, the private sector and government unite to promote the quality of Quebec housing products and the savoir faire to allow our companies to reach other markets," adds Trudel.
Guy Bossé, Manager, Information Transfer, Export and International Centre, for the CMHC Québec Region, indicated that this joint initiative between the public and private sectors is a concrete example of the manner in which Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation intends to fulfill its new mandate in the area of export assistance.
Mr. Bossé specified that "the partnership established by CMHC, McGill University, Promexpo International and provincial organizations paves the way for a very dynamic approach to the development of foreign markets for local businesses. I was especially pleased to see that the efforts invested in this project allowed for the development of a concept as innovative as the Casa a la Carta: a form of housing that, for the first time, was designed by Canadians in response to the needs of Mexicans. I encourage businesses to continue in this way. Their successes abroad will benefit all Canadians."
Mexico, gateway to export!
"For several years, Mexico has offered us such a market, because the demand for affordable housing has increased in a tangible way," says Friedman. Thats why La Casa a la Carta also counts on the special collaboration of Guadalupe Dipp Reyes, an internationally renowned architect and major Mexican real-estate project promoter. Says Reyes: "Our country needs hundreds of thousands of homes to house a population which will grow from 91 to 99 million by the year 2000. I am pleased to be able to collaborate with this beautiful La Casa a la Carta project, which offers comfortable, safe, affordable housing options harmonious with the Mexican culture and lifestyle."
Please note that La Casa a la Carta will be part of the Contact-Export Quebec-Canada Pavilion at the ConstruExpo Show, presented in Mexico, November 21 to 23, 1997. This expansive, quality show with a construction theme has been held for the last nine years in Guadalajara, the second-largest city in Mexico (population 7 million). The event is organized by Diexpo S.A., under the direction of the Jalisco delegation of the National Construction Industry Guild.