Money is one of the most important elements for surviving in this multifaceted world. The increase in the cost of living has led to the emergence of the demand for affordable things. Living in dense metropolises where the cost of every single thing is pretty much high, it becomes even more challenging to survive. Finding a home at an affordable price is the first problem an individual faces when shifting to a new city. And even metropolitan cities are intimidating in terms of finding affordable homes. This has created an urge in architects to build cheap houses. These houses are more than just saving money on making homes, they tend to address more problems than just creating comfortable spaces. 

Sustainability

The main aim is to encourage simultaneous growth between the built environment and natural spaces. So, sustainability is practiced in most designs. It can help to build affordable houses in the long run. It helps reduce carbon emissions and contributes to the environmental control of the building. Building sustainable places are often perceived as creating developments by minimizing up-front land, design labor, and material costs. Too often, this meant that affordable housing developments were built on remote sites, cut off from context, commerce, and transportation. 

Image 1_Asian games village practicing sustainability_©Riba Journal

They were designed to meet bottom-line instrumental metrics at the expense of creating context-responsive, energy-efficient, healthy, and friendly environments; they were inefficient in using energy, water, and materials. They frequently created unhealthy interior environments due to material use and degradation. Housing developers may be able to produce more or more affordable apartments by lowering annual running costs through sustainable development and architecture. It can also help homeowners save money by reducing these fees, freeing up funds for other living needs or savings.

Even the use of solar panels can help us practice sustainability. The initial cost of buying and installing solar panels are high, but it can compensate by saving even more amount of energy with maintenance at regular intervals. 

Using Local Materials

There are many benefits of using local materials in a building. Locally made local materials math with the local design aesthetic and more durable supports that region’s economy. However, local materials like stone and brick are often overlooked, though the use of local and locally offers the lowest possible carbon footprint. 

Many famous housing developments have used local materials, and many architects have adopted the use of local materials. Aranya housing is one of the most suitable examples of modern urban development. The purpose of this housing was to eradicate the slums and illegal settlements and tackle the scarcity of shelters. So, the best alternative was to build affordable houses. 

Image 2_Aranya low cost housing_©Sangath.org

Doshi employed shallow concrete piles for footing because the soil at the site was black cotton soil. A base, load-bearing brick walls, and concrete slabs are used in every home. The overall construction cost was also decreased as a result of this. The heat exposure was on the longer side of the home, which was oriented north-south. The house’s décor, materials, and color palette were all up to the owners. The use of local materials even decreases transportation, which ultimately affects the project’s overall cost. 

Modular Homes

Modular construction produces building components or modules with the same design and standard in a manufacturing facility, then transported and installed to become a building. The main feature of modular construction is the identical units. Since they are made in a factory, the manufacturing facility generates less waste. Most Modular homes are sustainable and affordable solutions to the major problems faced during the construction process. The simultaneous operation of manufacturing modules in the factory and assembling them on-site allows the project to end half the time as the traditional construction.

Image 3_Modular school_©Suryan Dang

These days, the idea of modular homes has been intriguing to architects. Modular homes tend to skip the process of dealing with a contractor, putting most or all construction processes under one company. These prefabricated boxes are easy to put together on the site, which can be imagined as stacking Lego blocks. 

The advantages of adopting a modular system are:

  1. Increasing the speed of installation on site
  2. Balances economy of scale in manufacturing of multiple units
  3. Improves the quality and accuracy of the building
  4. It is an excellent sustainable option

Modular buildings can be even dismantled, reused, and durable, making them much more advantageous than other modes of construction. 

Architecture has always played an essential role in shaping society and has impacted the community. Since the notion that sustainable materials are costlier than their conventional alternative overpowers the reality, it becomes difficult to adopt sustainable solutions to any problem. But these solutions turn out to be effective in the long run. With the emerging issues around the world, architects have to find an alternative that is more sustainable and less expensive than the original product, which may be harmful to the climate.

References:

  1. Sustainable Design & Affordability | Affordable Housing …. https://outreach.design.ncsu.edu/ah+sc/?page_id=367
  2. Types of Acrylic Sheets. https://www.chinaacrylicsheet.com/news-blog/types-of-acrylic-sheets.html
Author

Goral is inquisitive in nature because she thinks that the only way to reach to know the secret of the world, is by asking questions. Since she is a keen observer, noting down her observations has led her into the world of creative writing.

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