'The $300 House' Challenge

Bring affordable housing to the world’s poor. $25,000 prize pool

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Improved design of urban low cost housing in Dinajpur,Bangladesh

4. Rank7.55 Rating210 Ratings38 Comments20676 ViewsSubmitted on May 26, 2011
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This study has been undertaken as part of Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction Project, a project aimed at reducing poverty in urban communities across Bangladesh. This is a pilot project to build 10 low cost houses in Jorgen Babur Mart, a slum in Din

Jorgen Babu Mart is a slum with relatively secure land tenure. Although the area has not been subject to any recent disasters, the area is subject to regular flooding and households suffer from an extreme lack of space.The community is from mixed backgrounds but are cohesive with residents having living there for many years.A Community Development Committee set up by the UPPRP is active.

Rather than suggest a single design to be indiscriminately copied we are promoting a range of improved building techniques that will strengthen or improve parts of the house which are particularly weak and vulnerable to the local climate e.g. treatment of bamboo against insect attack, small concrete foundation posts to keep bamboo out of contact with the ground, stabilization of earth using a small amount of cement. These add a small amount of money to the cost of the existing house (up to 20%) but will make the houses stronger and much longer lasting – saving households money in the long run and making them more resilient to disaster.

If these improved techniques are going to spread beyond this project they must be appropriate to place and understood fully by local builders and communities. To this end we have undertaken workshops with local builders and the community to demonstrate and agree which techniques will be used in Jorgen Babur Mart. We then used these techniques to develop and cost 2 house design options, again in workshops in mixed groups of architecture students, local builders and households. A preliminary budget for these houses was set for Tk.40,000 ? around Tk.155 per sq.ft(2.11 us dollars per sq.ft). The designs initially exceeded this by around 10?15% but the groups reduced this to within budget by including recycling materials from their old houses, and undertaking more of the labour themselves.

As we are submitting a design proposal for a existing site and condition, the costs presented here are calculated according to those plot sizes. With the same layout, technique and materials the minimum  size of the house mentioned in this contest (2.2m by 2.2 m) can be constructed with 130 dollars, a much lower price than 300 dollars.

After the first 2 houses have been completed we will aim to reduce our role in the project, transferring responsibility for construction, material procurement and budget to the household, builders and CDC.

Design Team:
John Arnold
Azit Roy
Ishita Alam Abonee
Mahmuda Alam
Shareq Rauf Chowdhury

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