Buildings 300-dollar-house-poor

Published on June 25th, 2011 | by Glenn Meyers


Designing $300 Houses for the World’s Poor

June 25th, 2011 by  

Photo source: gizmag

Build a house for $300? That is exactly what the 300House Project just proved in a worldwide competition to design housing for the poor.

Contestants around the world were challenged to design a house that could be constructed for less than US$300. Prize money of $25,000 was shared among the top 16 ranked ideas, with two-week prototyping workshops worth $15,000 for the first, second and third designs ranked by both the online voting community and a Jury Prize.

Hopefully the designs that come from contests such as this can inspire more designs that can help those most in need of affordable housing. And for good reason, as the lack of adequate housing or shelter is one faced by almost two billion people in the world.

What began as a conceptual argument by bloggers Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar, the idea of building a house for under US $300 received such a supportive response the 300House project was launched, thanks to sponsors like Jovoto. And thank goodness, as the winning results are very much worth reviewing.

Here were the contest parameters: design a weatherproof and fireproof dwelling that was sustainable, secure, durable (up to 50 years) replicable, and dignified at a cost of $300. In addition, the dwelling needed to be standardized, but also had to allow for differences in regions and available materials. Size had to be no smaller than 2.2 meters square (23.68 square feet).

The habitat/community design had to provide space for sleeping and cooking, and access to light, drinking water and electricity and be secure. Although sanitation wasn’t part of the contest it is regarded as part of any centralized communal facility.

The highest community-ranked project awarded a monetary prize was “300 Possibilities” – a modular housing design that used available materials. Here, a basic block house with sloping roof and modular wood formation was proposed with different features, in different street layouts, with ventilation via courtyards, windows or raised stilts to take advantage of different airflow. Contest organizers said the key to the winning design is its adaptability for the global poor.

Second award went to “Project Ground-Up” from Architecture Commons whose house design concerned a self-managed village cooperative for 100 families. This community included a micro-enterprise approach for job-creation in the manufacture of housing materials. This design also outlined future investments in tools that will aid the community, like rainwater tanks and solar power.

The Hybrid House is an earth block and wood structure with a corrugated roof that uses available materials and is adaptable to different climates. It provides for communal energy and water use. Each cluster of six would feature a solar panel, solar cooker, solar water purifier, cistern and washing station that distributes gray water to feed a central planter.

As for online voting, the top rank went to Totally Tubular – a design comprising tubes of light fiber and clay known as hyper-wattle standing on a lower wall of masonry or heavy earth bags filled with trash and rubble. An overlaid matrix of mesh forms a structural skin that allows high-quality earthen wall construction for very little cost.

All designs to this inspiring contest should be reviewed and shared. 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

  • Search the IM Network