San Vicente Housing

A low-cost, modular home design and a planned development of over 200 homes for unhoused families in San Vicente.


New Story San Vicente is a new development of over 200 homes for vulnerable and unhoused families in El Salvador. Through a partnership between the New Story Charity, El Salvador’s Ministry of Housing, the San Vicente Municipality, and Gente Ayudando Gente, families will be able to purchase their homes through affordable financing plans. SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership designed both the master plan for the site and the modular homes that will be built there.

The 33-acre site just outside of San Vicente will be carefully redeveloped to provide space for housing and recreation while preserving its natural features and addressing current challenges like frequent flooding. The lots for each home are arranged on site to preserve as many existing trees as possible. Large shared spaces between rows of homes provide space for gathering and recreation, and also serve as wildlife corridors and stormwater bioswales. The site has been designed for up to 300 homes, 200 of which are currently under construction.

The homes are designed with affordability, sustainability, and community in mind, and can be easily expanded in the future to add additional bedrooms or living space. New Story held several workshops with the future residents of the development, who emphasized the need for communal spaces, open front porches, and outdoor kitchens and bathrooms. Simple passive ventilation strategies and open front porches will help keep the homes cool.

I worked as a designer on this pro-bono project at SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership.

San Vicente, El Salvador


Architecture, Landscape, Planning



SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership

Designing for Belonging 
Video: San Vicente Community Overview
Video: Field Notes - San Vicente


The plan maximizes the use of the land for new housing and services while preserving its natural beauty and existing ecosystems.


The development is designed to retain as many existing trees on site as possible.


Stormwater and existing water culverts are redirected and filtered through planted bioswales.


Existing natural corridors for wildlife are preserved and new ones are added through housing blocks.


Native plantings throughout the site and preserved and supplemented with additional natural landscapes

The master plan for the 33-acre site includes three phases with 100 homes each, a recreation area, water treatment facility, and cemetery.


The Phase 1 community is designed with shared spaces between each row of homes that are connected by pedestrian walkways.

These shared areas provide space for gathering and recreation while also enhancing the site’s ecosystem through wildlife corridors, newly planted trees, and natural bioswales that collect and filter rainwater.


Based on families’ feedback, the starter homes have three bedrooms and one bath, with the capability for families to easily renovate and expand as their needs change.

The families also asked for a design with an outdoor kitchen and bathroom, as well as a front porch and large front window they can transform into a storefront.


Base Plan
The base plan is 50 m² with 3 bedrooms.


Porch Enclosure
The porch is open in the base plan, but can be enclosed or partially enclosed to add an additional 6 m².


Rear Addition
An additional 9 m² bedroom or living space can be added in the rear yard, where it would be accessible by the covered roof.


The homes at San Vicente are designed to take advantage of passive ventilation through operable windows and clerestories.


©2024 Vonn Weisenberger