8:52 AM » Is It Possible to Build a Home for $1,000?
Ying chee Chui
This house, with the roof removed, was designed by Ying chee Chui as a part of MITâ€™s â€œ1K Houseâ€ project. In some cities — New York, for example — many buyers think nothing of paying more than $1,000 per square foot for a home. But how about making one for $1,000? That’s the challenge architects at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tried to tackle. They recently unveiled the first prototype from the “” project, an effort to produce low-cost homes in poor areas and regions struck by natural disaster. While the tiny price tag wasn’t possible, the mission remains noble. “There is a huge proportion of the world’s population that has pressing housing needs,â€ says Tony Ciochetti, a professor with the Cambridge, Mass., school’s . “Can you build affordable, sustainable shelter for such a large population?” The prototype, dubbed the Pinwheel House, was designed by Ying chee Chui, a 2011 graduate of MIT’s Department of Architecture. Measuring 800 square feet, it was constructed in Mianyang, part of China’s Sichuan province. The house boasts a modular layout with hollow brick walls with steel bars for reinforcement and wooden box beams. It is designed to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake. Ying chee Chui
The interior of the low-cost house designed by Ying chee Chui. This prototype turned out to be more costly — $5,925. (The price does not include land.) But that didn’t deter MIT. It is now at work on a second project, albeit one with a bigger price tag. The school is working to produce a series of home designs, intended for earthquake-and-tsunami-ravaged Japan, that would cost about $10,000 to build. MITâ€™s project shows that plenty of hurdles remain before any home can be manufactured for $1,000. “If it were easy, somebody would have done it,” Mr. Ciochetti points out. Follow Dawn on Twitter