I was excited to watch the first house being built in Ciudad Morazán. I knew it would be unlike any place I had seen before. I had read about the innovative technology that would make it weather-proof, sound-proof, and even earthquake-proof. I knew it would start with lightweight panels of expanded polystyrene and galvanized steel wire that are easy to assemble. When I saw the first house on April 22, the shell had already been constructed.
The material of the panels looked and felt lighter than I expected. I found it hard to picture how the house would look when completed, even though I had seen an artist’s rendition.
As I walked into what would be the entrance, I felt that the house was bigger than I expected. I recognized the layout from the diagram I had studied. A workman was crouched in the doorway to the master bedroom. The small room beside him had to be the bathroom.
I was pleased to see that both the master bedroom and kitchen had windows to the courtyard. That would allow plenty of natural light. The second bedroom at the front of the house had a window to the outside, admitting natural light.
By my next visit a few days later, some of the roofing had been added. The view from inside the master bedroom allowed me to see the windows looking onto the courtyard. The windows from the master bedroom and the kitchen faced each other across the open space. The walls seemed very strange with their steel wires.
By the beginning of May, there were two houses under construction. There would eventually be eight houses in each row. Because of the sound-proof material, they could share walls between them.
More work had been done on the interior of the first house, so I could see how the rooms were progressing. They were still bare panels and concrete floors, but I imagined how they would eventually look. The bathroom was at least recognizable from the plumbing.
By May 15, the process of covering the walls with cement had begun. It was only the first layer, so I could still see the steel wires over the panels. Yet, it felt like real progress to see the walls of the first house being covered while other houses in the row were being erected.
On May 20, I got to see a later stage of covering the walls with cement. The second bedroom, which had a window open to the front of the house, beside the front door, now had a solid concrete wall. Supports held up the roof at this point.
By May 24, the supports were gone, and the walls were nicer looking, although not painted yet. The first house was coming along, even though it still looked more like a building block than a house.
Paint and framed windows with glass in them made a big difference in the appearance of the house. By the end of May, the first house looked like a real house, even though it wasn’t nearly ready for occupancy.
Paint inside and tiles on the floor also made the second bedroom look very different.
On June 7, the house was close enough to being finished to write about it.
In seven weeks, the first house in Ciudad Morazán went from concept to almost completed.