The concept of affordable housing is an interrelated architecture, urban and design challenge. Solving design problems such as providing rich spatial units in a compact plan is one of the many challenges to name. Through green design, we can correctly identify, deal with and solve the issues of low-priced housing. Let’s take a look at a few examples of affordable housing solutions around the globe.
1. Dar Lamane – Morocco
Dar Lamane is a successful example of a culturally sensitive affordable housing project for low-income families which was built in an extremely short time. The four-story height defines the entire project using prefabricated elements for walls, beams, stairs, floors and arcades in combination with cast-in-place construction. The Dar Lamane complex provides housing for 25,000 people in 4,022 units, and was completed in 30 months, two months ahead of the targeted time, with a construction cost 15 per cent less than estimated.
Dar Lamane has an innovative approach to planning with organizing housing around a large central square. The importance of urban public space is featured as an extension of the living space and intensifying community life. The Gateways mark the entrances to the shopping streets and link the clusters of housing which is a brilliant idea to provide a sense of ownership. The planning and design of the housing clusters pay tribute to the traditional pattern of the Moroccan town and ensure rich, continuous pedestrian networks, complemented by formal and informal gardens.
2. Shushtar New Town – Iran
Shushtar New town was designed by Kamran Diba in 1972 and planned in five stages, to be completed in 1985. The design and planning follow the traditional pattern of Iranian architecture focussed on creating a comfortable pleasant environment. Units were designed to accommodate future expansions, streets were deep and narrow contrasting with the wide main boulevard and because of high dense planning the buildings shade as much as possible on the streets and living spaces.
3. Happinest Avadi – India
Happinest Avadi is an affordable housing project by Mahindra Life Spaces that revolves around the idea of providing urban households with an environmentally secure and healthy shelter. The complex follows a row house pattern with streets on all floors and shapes open spaces of distinct identities.
4. St. Peter Apartments – USA
The St. Peter Apartments in the USA is a 3 storey, 50 units building that commits to sustainable affordable housing. The indoor common public spaces consist of a wellness centre and a community centre with a kitchen and a computer lab. Outdoor spaces include a courtyard with a community garden and a playground that was added for the children’s living in the building.
5. CIDCO Housing, Navi Mumbai – India
CIDCO housing is an affordable housing project that was constructed in 1993 with 1048 dwelling units. The neighbourhood was inspired by the concept of accumulation of courtyards, squares, terraces and balconies from the streets of Jaisalmer. The design aspects included interconnected units and extensions to the living areas.
6. Karimadom Colony, Thiruvananthapuram – India
The Karimadom Colony situated near Chalai market has a staggered arrangement of blocks that opens to informal gathering spaces. Every house is designed to have its own open space in a multi-storeyed building. The result was a stepped building with each block of four floors. The ground floor consists of eight units, six units on the first, four units on the second and two units on the third floor respectively. Filler Slabs were utilized in place of RCC slabs, and the walls were left unplastered leaving the brick walls exposed. The pointing method is used for finishing thus reducing the cost of construction by 10%. Windows were restored with jali walls, thus providing permanent ventilation, security and lighting throughout.
7. Kalpana Housing, Auroville – India
Kalpana Housing is a successful housing project that comprises 42 dwelling units. The concept follows Commodity Firmness and Delight. The extent of form exploration is more at a Unit level in an independent house design. The housing surrounded by open verandas on three sides engaged the ceiling fan as a catalyst for comfortable living in the individual houses. The solids and voids play a crucial role in balancing the noise level.
8. Asian Games Olympic Village, New Delhi – India
The Asian Games Olympic Village in New Delhi was designed to accommodate the Asian Games Athletes and was later sold to the public. Constructed in 1982, this affordable housing comprising of 500 units in a 35-acre plot was created with a low rise, high dense factors that represented the typical Indian Mohalla community. The design features included the clustering of buildings, courtyard providing public space, scattering of terraces creating interactive space, narrow streets and segregated vehicular and pedestrian paths.
9. Sublime Ordinariness Housing Project, Mumbai – India
The successful housing project utilizes the presence of wind, sunlight and rain that are the delight of living in tropical environments such as Mumbai. Each apartment is provided with a small multifunctional space at the entrance of the home, with a kitchen on one side and toilets on the other. This space then leads into two non-designated rooms, and the kitchen near the entrance enables the women of the house to be connected with the outdoors.
10. Rochester Way, Greenwich – London
Rochester Way is a highly dense, low rise, street-based affordable housing project. The design of the housing pushes the homes together without any privacy issues whilst still ensuring a positive outlook of the streets. The complex provides 29, 100 per cent affordable homes, a community hall, a shop and a space for local pubs with the homes stepping up to three storeys.
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- www.akdn.org. (n.d.). Dar Lamane Housing | Aga Khan Development Network. [online] Available at: https://www.akdn.org/architecture/project/dar-lamane-housing.
- Sedighi, S.M.A. (2016). Shushtar New Town, Shushtar (IR): Kamran Diba (DAZ Architects Planners & Engineers). DASH | Delft Architectural Studies on Housing, [online] (12/13), pp.246–257. Available at: https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/dash/article/view/5027/4598.