From the tallest to the smallest

Thursday 04 Aug 2011

Mahindra Partners designs $300 home for Harvard Open Design Challenge

In the same week that Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill announced extravagant designs for the world’s tallest building (Kingdom Tower, 1000+m) we bring news that diverse Mumbai-based business Mahindra Partners has achieved global recognition for its ingenious design for a simple house costing only $300.

Conceptualised for an open competition hosted by Harvard, the small residence is not only highly affordable but contains all the basic necessities for a warm, dry and safe existence. The winning design is admittedly on the petite side, however intelligent design work has ensured that the inhabitants’ needs are catered for. The idea is that in rural areas the properties will be clustered into an independent ecosystems of services, including education and healthcare facilities, clean water sources and micro enterprise in an effort to ‘reduce the disease of poverty’.

A simple concept design means that the structures can be erected by relatively unskilled labourers. The majority of materials utilised are abundantly available in local markets and the Mahindra Partners team has also completed a Development and Identity Scheme which will allow people enrolled in a government database to request rural financing and support to build their own homes.

Mohan Raghavan from the design team explains: “The house is designed for rural and homeless people in developing countries like India and Africa, where a large number of the population cannot afford cheap and effective housing. The basic aim is to enable homeless people to own a house.”

Zhooben Bhiwandiwala, Executive Vice President and Managing Partner at Mahindra Partners stressed the importance of competitions of this nature: “Competitions such as the US $300 House Open Design Challenge help foster creative thought and collaboration towards finding a viable solution for the housing crisis. The entry submitted by the team is a great example of reverse innovation and is a positive step towards creating low-cost, affordable housing for the world’s poor.”

Sian Disson
News Editor

This article has been revised.

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