Eight resourceful low-cost housing projects from around the globe

“The concept is both a vision of a better world in the small format, how we live in the future, what we need around us in the housing world and how large a house we really need,” said the architect. Read more about the pop-up garage housing   »
Casa Convento, Ecuador,   by Enrique Mora Alvarado

This recently completed house in a remote Ecuadorian rainforest was designed by architect Enrique Mora Alvarado to be built by its residents. A three-metre-wide prototype of the structure was built from bamboo, held together using a custom-designed system of bolts and fasteners. Each house has two bedrooms, a hall and a sheltered courtyard, which residents can use as a dining room, social space or as a place to repair fishing nets. Read more about Post-Tsunami Housing   »
Bamboo Micro-Housing, Hong Kong, by Affect-T
Photograph by Luke HayesHong Kong’s abandoned factories are the perfect place to build temporary housing communities, suggested Affect-T founder Dylan Baker-Rice with this modular housing proposal. “Residents would live in these houses for six months to seven years, which is the waiting time for public housing in the city,” he told Dezeen. “The clients simply asked for a basic house for themselves and their two children, so we regarded this project as an opportunity to work on urban house prototypes,” said the architects. “Building with local resources in a bamboo producing area is a huge opportunity for the community because it awakens interest in harnessing local resources with local labour, causing a low impact on the environment and improving the quality of life of the inhabitants of the region,” Mora Alvarado told Dezeen. “This was not going to be a traditional disaster relief effort where we go in and make homes really fast and leave,” said developer Phillip Bay. However many commenters praised the project for its aims – to create a temporary solution to the shortage of low cost, single occupancy housing in Hackney, east London. “People in Mekong Delta with an average income under £60 per month mainly live in cheap temporary houses. It cost just $15,000 (£9,500). Read more about S House   »
Empower Shack, South Africa, by Urban-Think Tank and ETH Zürich

Design strategy collective Urban-Think Tank teamed up with ETH Zürich university on the Empower Shack project – an initiative to improve housing conditions for people living in slums   in some of the 2,700 informal settlements across South Africa. Read more about Bamboo Micro-Housing   »
Prototyping UH, Japan, by General Design
Photograph by Daici AnoThis two-storey residence by General Design   was   intended   as   an urban housing template that can be replicated in any Japanese city. Read more about Casa Convento   » Read more about Happy Cheap house   »
Post-Tsunami Housing, Sri Lanka, by Shigeru Ban
Photograph by Dominic SamsoniAsked to rehabilitate a Sri Lankan fishing village that was swept away during the 2004 tsunami, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed houses with compressed earth walls and wooden roof structures. Read more about   Empower Shack   »
Happy Cheap house, Sweden, by Tommy Carlsson

Swedish architect Tommy Carlsson developed this prefabricated house clad with corrugated metal as an alternative to Sweden’s typical suburban residences – although Dezeen readers questioned whether €170,000 is cheap enough. “If it’s temporary housing then what is the problem?” said Dean. The second-phase prototype features a pre-cast concrete structure that can be clad with various low-cost materials, depending on what is most readily available. Ironically, poor structures result in high maintenance fees.

Updated: 16.12.2014 — 09:59