Could You Design a House That Can be Built for $300?
Here’s a challenging assignment for innovative designers out there. A professor at Dartmouth is offering a $25,000 prize for a design for a $300 house to replace the sort of ramshackle housing that the world’s poorest are currently stuck with. 300House.com
The houses have to be made of tough, mass-produced materials. (They already are, as you see in this picture – but yours should hold up better than this cardboard and salvaged tin, ideally)
He is offering a $25,000 prize to the winner, along with the chance to actually make a real difference in peoples lives -
- and if these amazingly feeble entries so far are any indication – you have a good chance of winning!
The sponsors would like to see both light and ventilation in the entries, something the typical house in a slum does not have.
They also suggest, somewhat more unrealistically, that the house should be 225 square feet and 10 feet high: up from the typical 90 sq feet, and 6 feet high.
This requirement makes it almost impossible to come in at $300, which is unfortunate, since the whole idea is that if you can make it affordable enough, there is some way the design could be replicated for the real world, and actually do something about the way the poorest of us live.
This entry, made out of translucent plastic bricks that snap together like Legos. This certainly brings light in, but another problem in the world’s very poorest neighborhoods is theft. If they snap together, they would have to be secure against being snapped apart and taken away as well.
This one utilizes the multi-unit cost savings already known to all apartment complex builders, but wastes money on this pointless and ugly multilevel roof.
The best one so far is this very ancient solution, probably the best for its time and place. However, rain would get in this chimney, and there is no protection from scurrying vermin.
The designers should remember that this design is to solve the problems found in the typical 21st century urban slum, where garbage pickups are nonexistent – not the wide open spaces of the American prairie where nature was able to compost organic food waste – because it didn’t come wrapped in plastic.
But slums are trash heaps, with as much inorganic waste as organic. Perhaps that fact inspires a design idea? Good luck! Here’s where to enter your idea: 300House.com