Rubens Menin’s innovative approach to construction has given countless people on low incomes the opportunity of homeownership.
From the street, there is little that stands out architecturally about 96 Rua dos Maçaricos. For Rubens Menin, however, the house in Vila Clóris – a hilly working-class neighborhood in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Brazil’s heartland state of Minas Gerais – is highly significant. It was the first home he built, in 1978, while he was working toward an engineering degree. The project came in under budget, at just half the projected cost.
Menin invested the proceeds of that first house in three new projects. Then he graduated, used the profit from his early projects to buy a lot on which he would build 10 units, and founded MRV Engenharia. Today, the company delivers more than 40,000 apartments a year, and one in every 200 Brazilians lives in a home built by MRV.
Most notably, it has given millions of people on low incomes the opportunity to buy a home of their own. That’s partly thanks to the innovative financing options MRV offers, which enable buyers to spread the cost of the purchase over 30 years and pay in instalments that are similar to the equivalent rental price.
But despite the company’s phenomenal success – it is the largest homebuilder in Latin America and the third largest in the world – and Menin’s role as chairman, he still takes a personal interest in day-to-day activities. He enjoys visiting all the 250 active construction sites, connecting with colleagues, participating in land acquisition and visiting commercial locations, where he also meets with potential customers.