I’m Sebastian Swezey, the CEO and founder of Lamina POP. Growing up in Guatemala, I became aware of the extensive grasp that poverty held over much of society. Despite being born into a relatively well-off family, the contrast between my lifestyle and those of many of my peers was impossible to ignore. I felt a strong desire to do something about it, and I was inspired by my father, Pablo Swezey, who initially developed the Lamina POP construction system as a novel, sustainable, and affordable way to provide dignified housing in the developing world. Sadly, my father passed away seven years ago. Before the system could see widespread adoption. After his passing, I ventured into architectural technology, determined that I would not let his legacy die.
Lamina POP is a social enterprise that aims to increase access to low-cost, high-quality buildings in the developing world, with a specific focus on dignified housing. We have a patented construction system that produces simple, safe, and flexible structures. Our designs cost as little as 35% of those built with leading alternative housing solutions for the developing world. The system uses corrugated metal sheets, called laminas in Latin America, as load-bearing structural elements rather than sidings or roofs. Using laminas in this way has several beneficial properties for occupant health and safety as well as building longevity. We have applied our system independently and in partnership with organisations such as Habitat for Humanity and las Manos De Christine to construct over fifteen structures in Guatemala, including houses, schools, warehouses, and workshops; even structures built over ten years ago still look and function like new. We believe that Lamina POP can play a role in helping reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and in empowering the 1.2 billion people that currently live without dignified shelter, thereby improving the quality of their lives and unlocking their human and economic potential.
Our team comprises Marcus Alburez Myers and Brett Gutstein. I studied architectural technology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Marcus, the COO, is also from Guatemala; he studied finance and social entrepreneurship in Los Angeles, California, before completing an MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance at Oxford as a Skoll Centre Scholar. Brett, our CSO, is originally from Houston, Texas. He is a Gates Scholar and PhD candidate in computer science at Cambridge University. He has previous experience as the co-founder of a computing-technology startup and as a product developer.
We hope you have found this short introduction to Lamina POP engaging. Please visit our website, www.laminapop.com, to find out more and view photos of our work in Guatemala. Feel free to contact us directly at [email protected]. We are always interested to hear from like-minded people interested in bringing about a new wave of construction.
Lamina POP is supported by the Accelerate Cambridge programme.
I have personally seen these structures and marveled at the simplicity and beauty in their use of lamina as a load bearing wall. Lamina Pop’s use of this material is extremely adaptable to creative uses and architectural designs, including curves and lighting. As a scientist, I appreciate the use of simple physics of Lamina Pop to accomplish it’s strength. As a person who has traveled and seen the difficulties of getting building materials to remote place, Lamina Pop offers an elegant housing solution and brings the opportunity of dignity to their owners. I would love to see Lamina Pop adopted worldwide.
Fascinating – would love to find out if it would help in South Africa where low cost housing is not keeping up.