MIT reports on a project that has yielded basic new modular designed homes for under $6000. The goal was to design a home for $1000 for the poor, or to address emergency housing and other high demand housing needs. The idea to attempt building $1,000 homes was first conceived by Tony Ciochetti, the Thomas G. Eastman Chair at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Center for Real Estate. “There is a huge proportion of the world’s population that has pressing housing needs,” says Ciochetti, who first got the idea after seeing a family of four emerge from a tiny mud hut while he was traveling through rural India. “Can you build affordable, sustainable shelter for such a large population?” The central design concept of the Pinwheel House is the same: It has a modular layout, with rectangular room units surrounding a central courtyard space. “The module can be duplicated and rotated, and then it becomes a house,” Ying chee Chui who designed the Pinwheel House. “The construction is easy enough, because if you know how to build a single module, you can build the whole house.” The new design studio also aims to create homes that could be built inexpensively following natural disasters, such as the earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan in March. Yung Ho Chang, a professor of architectural design at MIT, explained that rebuilding in such situations often entails three stages of construction: the creation of temporary shelters, then stronger temporary homes sturdy enough for winter weather, and then permanent replacements for damaged or destroyed buildings.
(Graphic credit: MIT)