Coline Mauroy’s Homemade project investigates ‘self-building’ in high-density environments

“Architecture is not only about making a building beautiful, it’s more about thinking about a space that can provide a better way of living".


Born and raised in Nantes, France, Coline Mauroy is an interior architect with a passion for humane approaches to design. A graduate of Geneva University of Art and Design, she was involved in a research project during her time there that investigated the housing needs of the Swiss city. Concerned by the difficulties that young people encounter while trying to access property due to the astronomical costs, Mauroy began working on a conceptual project that explores and questions the principle of self-building in high-density environments.

Called Homemade, the speculative solution brings affordable housing into the inner city through the establishment of a “Villa District” close to the centre of Geneva, offering the convenience of being close to public transport, schools and shops. “To me,” says Mauroy, “architecture is not only about making a building beautiful, it’s more about thinking about a space that can provide a better way of living, opened and connected to the city and to the people.”


A low-cost solution based on mutual aid, Homemade removes the necessity of professional contractors and instead focuses on a community assisting other residents in the building of their homes. Construction professionals would permanently reside in the ‘Villa’ and when a new inhabitant arrives, they would teach and monitor the construction of their new home.

“An existing structure would act as the skeleton of the whole building,” Mauroy explains. “There are floors, supporting columns, stairs, elevators, corridors, electricity and water facilities, along with workshops. All are permanent and are utilised to get the building completed with the self-built apartments.”


Residents would be able to choose from a range of materials and then follow the construction principles – a very simple assembly of panels and battens. They are also able to choose where in the space they’d like to live, the placement of walls, doors and windows. The other inhabitants can also help, offering advice, and guiding them through their new environment.

“This system offers an affordable habitat, connected to the city and to the people, and each resident is the owner of their apartment, both financially and emotionally,” Mauroy explains.

An inexpensive and removable solution that aims to contribute to a human experience of community, Homemade is a project that Mauroy has plans to investigate further. Currently based in Japan where she is working in famed architect Riken Yamamoto’s office to develop her architectural sensitivity and skills, she intends to continue her architectural exploration and experimentation through the pursuit of her master’s degree.

Her portfolio is also available on the Arts Thread website.