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A Jam Manufactory for Naxií

The project shows a facility for the production of jams and conserves. The desired spatial program includes two main functions that are embodied in two buildings: A production area and an area for education and workshops. Through their positioning in the landscape, they define an “interior/exterior” space, and enable a large variety of external areas with diverse functions.

The new centre of the ensemble is the slope between the lower building and the kitchen. Here a four-step wall out of slate-stone masonry and clay mortar was constructed. It is stabilisation and seeting possibility at the same time.

The supporting walls of the houses were made of adobe masonry. The raw surface of the bricks creates a contrast to the fine concrete of the base and ring beam. The wall segments  are dimensioned to tolerate seismic activity. Coloured frames form the substructure for the windows and doors. The site itself needed to be planned for the production of fruit and vegetables, access and circulation, erosion control and rainwater management. The proposals needed to be financially and technically sustainable, also in terms of seismic requirements.


Success relies on the collaboration of equal parties in the project:

The women’s competence, strength and decisiveness were essential for the smooth design/decision- and building-process. Each member of the CoCoon crew provided a part to the interdisciplinary and inter-cultural knowledge needed for that work.

Both parties, the client and the design-crew are embedded in a network of people, essential for the success of the project:

• C.A.M.P.O, the NGO

• local authorities

• the local craftsmen

• the local families

• professionals and students from different disciplines • students and alumni from the UNAM

• professional German craftsmen

• sponsors, donating organisations

The building is just the tangible manifestation of a much broader achievement.

Processing architecture does not end in the delivery of the object but is a long lasting, sustainable endeavour that effects the future of all people involved:

• by the lessons learned in executing the own (future) profession

• by the experience of real collaboration and “convivencia”

• through the possibilities activated by the new spatial facilities.

Images and Plans

Technical Description

The building complex 'A Jam Manufactory for Naxií' incorporates two main functions that are embodied in two buildings: A production area and an area for education and workshops. Through their positioning in the landscape, they define a variety of interior/exterior spaces with diverse characters and uses. The slope between the lower building and the kitchen forms the central space between the building ensembles. A stepped wall made from local slate-stone, invite users to sit and rest. The supporting walls of the buildings are made of adobe masonry; their raw surface of the clay-stones creates a contrast to the fine concrete of the base and ring beam. Because of the site’s geographic location, the walls are dimensioned to tolerate seismic activity, the floor plan is double-symmetric and both buildings count on pilaster strips and a reinforced concrete ring-beam and foundation. Coloured frames mark the openings and form the substructure for the windows and doors. The site itself is completed with sanitation facilities, an orchard, rain and wastewater management, play facilities, access and circulation for cars and erosion control of the slope.


Seven years later

In spring 2019, my colleagues Lorena Burbano and Sebastian Oviedo had the change to visit the womens cooperative, now called SABORES MAZATECOS. The kitchen was in use, several fruits and vegetables were envased to be sold, the garden was flourishing. A fence protected the compound and the windows were barred as it has been victim of a burglary, a new water cistern and a solar panel was installed. Doña Graciela Reyes and her colleagues had accomplished and given various workshops and feries.

The kitchen facility in use

The chile canario season started! The production of conserves just strated in the new facilities.

The ring beam

The original design needed to be adapted upon arrival. Within 7 weeks, 25 students from Europe and Mexico completed the project. Beginning with foundation works and drainage, ending up by putting tiles on the walls, installing lamps and planting trees, all work was done by the students themselves.

how it started

Good communication is the main challenge.

This requires:

• equal competences

• same language spoken and shown

• functioning communication tools

• face to face-encounters


After two years negotiating with Naxií and C.A.M.P.O, the requirements for a collaborative DesignBuild project were given: Building ground, brief and resources.

Ex-alumni and students from the UNAM visited the location, took the measurements, and did a research on the context and discussed mandate and duties. CoCoon planned the seminar structure, set up the crew and secured the funding.


In three month, the designers developed the final design in close collaboration with the cooperative. Each step was accompanied by a presentation face to face or via skype. The brief was discussed and adapted to the projects inherent restrictions. Knowledge from different disciplines, provided by students and professionals was reflected in the execution drawings on a professional level.On arrival the hill was a lot steeper than expected, so the whole master-plan had to be changed.




CoCoon - contextual construction et al. TU Berlin, Hochschule MünchenArchitecture, Landscape ArchitectureUrsula Hartig
Union de Mujeres Unidas NAXIÍGraciela Garcia Reyes
Logistics, Project Implementation, ResearchC.A.M.P.O,
ResearchUNAM- Atelier Max Cetto
FundingSto Stiftung, DAAD,
Ursula Hartig (Teacher/Educator)Ursula Hartig (Teacher/Educator)Adobe Maestro (Local Craftsman)Luis (Local Expert)
Food and accomodation for all students during seven weeks. three meals a dayUnion de Mujeres Unidas NAXIÍ
Money for building materials and local labourSTO Stiftung, Private Donors
Travel and subsistance as grant for the studentsDAAD


Architecture 19 Students
Landscape Architecture 3 Students
Urban Design 1 Students
Civil Engineering 2 Students
Bachelor of ArtsMaster of Science


The site measures approx. 10 m x 20 m Kitchen Building: 5 m x 8 m Assembly Hall: 4,50 x 6 m
In KindFood and accomodation by the clients and the community; Roofing material by the clients; Building Ground
Other BudgetTransportation of German students by the DAAD; Expert Workshop for low-tech concret work;
Project Start:2010
Year of Completion:2012
Planning PeriodTwo years of research and preliminary cooperation
Design Periodfour month design and execution planning including research, logistics, funding
Construction Period7 weeks
Other PeriodDocumentation: 3 month
Seven week of construction.The cooperative had to put tiles on the wall and decided to put a window-grill to prevent burglary. The competence of the client, the women-cooperative Naxií and the cooperating NGO C.A.M.P.O. was essecial for the sucess o
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Creative Commons Licence

SEED Award 2015 For Excellence in Public Interest Design

SEED Award Mexico 2014 for excellence in Public Interest Design

Supported by Sto Stiftung

German Academic Exchange Service (Student Travel Support)

VFFA e.V. (Budget Management)