$300 Hybrid House

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The basic concept of the design is to utilize the same materials that are typically found in slum housing. The house is a hybrid compressed earth block and lightweight wood/metal. The lower course of earth block can be varied in height so that not all of the houses look the same. The earth block is also used in the interior to build furniture and a stove. Above the earth block sits a wooden frame with operable wood shutters. This allows the houses to utilize cross breezes. The roof is corrugated metal, which was chosen for its availability and reliability. The roof is a simple shed roof that allows hot air to follow the slope up and out.

Joseph Sandy

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June 18, 2013
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The initial challenge to create a 300 dollar house was proposed by Vijay Govindarajan in the Harvard Business Review. These houses would be purchased with micro-mortgages by slum dwellers. The $300 price was determined to be affordable, but a new method of building would be needed to provide quality housing at that price.


By using thermal mass + a lightweight structure, I was able to reduce the cost while adding comfort to the house. Clustering the houses around courtyards introduced a collective nature to the housing. Then, by addressing how these clusters created streets, additional function and livelihood was added to the communities.