A team of Woodbury students and alumni came together to build new supportive housing in Tijuana, Mexico. The project was completed with architecture firm Gregg Maedo + Associates for Project Mercy, a non-profit organization working to improve living conditions for families in impoverished areas outside of Tijuana. This year, GM+A’s “Team Constructicons” that participated in Project Mercy’s Baja Challenge was led by Woodbury alumnus Adriana Orozco.
The Baja Challenge invites architects, banks and any real estate related businesses in the San Diego and Orange County area to participate by donating their time, money and community spirit to help build houses for families who have none. No construction experience is necessary, only a willingness to learn, teach and work together toward building a 16’0” by 20’0” home for a family in need. For the building material, the team raised over $7,000, which provided additional funds to buy shelf racks, food, and living essential for the family in Tijuana.
Project Mercy explains that the inadequate housing of the neighborhoods in which the corporation is working leads to health hazards year round. The health and environmental hazards multiply as more people arrive in the region where terrain. There are no homeless or temporary shelters and no soup kitchens for the hungry. The Project Mercy program is based on three criteria: Need, length of time in the program, and amount of “sweat equity” assistance given. Project Mercy asks the residents work on at least four houses for their neighbors prior to receiving their own. This draws people together and promotes a sense of community.
As Adriana said, “We got to the site around 7AM and built the house in 8.5 hours. There was an existing concrete slab, and we built the house out of 2×4’s and plywood. It was such a rewarding experience and one of my favorite memories is being able to count on 15 of my Woodbury colleagues. I felt the love and this shows the benefits of going to a small school; we all become close to one another and are truly there for each other.”
Current students and alumni that worked on the project include:
Cecilia Herrera (B.Arch’15), Tatiana Zavala (B.Arch’14), Kim Rodriguez (B.Arch’17), Adrienne Fortin (B.Arch’12), Miguel Ruiz (current student), Dario Salgado (current student), Sogol Kashani (current student), Eric Martinez (B.Arch’16), Cory Pham (B.Arch’18), Alexis Moriah Garcia (B.Arch’18), Andres Villalobos (B.Arch’18), Gerardo Sandoval (B.Arch’15), Adriana Orozco (B.Arch’17)