Mass housing has become an essential solution in today’s life with a consecutive increase in population and a decrease in the livable space for these overpopulated humans. Big cities are the best example. People moving to these cities overcrowd the city and overuse the resources available. As a solution, dense and repetitive housing seemed best initially in terms of space and finance, however now the cities have started to look like concrete jungles. Improper planning of space and the use of unsustainable materials harm both nature and human life.
The city of Mumbai, over the years, has witnessed a high growing demand for affordable mass housing units as it caters to lower to middle-income groups. Urbanization has generated an imminent housing demand for which city planners, architects, engineers, and the government are working hard to find sustainable solutions to accommodate the prerequisites of the potential buyers.
With more urbanization, there is a boom witnessed in residential real estate. Fast building practices, high-tech products, ground-breaking construction materials, and new construction techniques are helping in achieving the necessity.
Mass housing works as the best solution for urban regeneration when the campus and the structure are designed and planned considering every detail. Many architects around the world have and are contributing towards designing environment and human-friendly housing schemes.
Some of the best Architects that worked on accommodating people through Mass housing in India are B. V. Doshi, Charles Correa, Brinda Somaya, Hasmukh Patel, Raj Rewal, Achyut Kanvinde, Hafeez Contractor, etc. And from other countries are Alejandro Gaston, Le Corbusier, Bjarke Ingels, etc. Following are some examples of innovative design in this typology of Mass Housing.
Aranya Low-Cost Housing by an Indian Ar. B. V. Doshi is a housing project of the Indore development authority (IDA) which was primarily designed to serve the EWS and other income groups. The project was started in the year 1983 and was completed by 1989. The program was to accommodate 6500 families in 86 hectares of land with the concept of providing basic services where the construction of built form was up to the user’s need.
The users were provided with flexible unit layouts that can be expanded in the future according to the user’s needs. Proper ventilation, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, commercial and institutional spaces, and interaction nodes are a few things that were considered while planning.
Alejandro Gastón Aravena Mori is a Chilean architect who is well known for his unique and innovative approach towards an architecture that aims to provide solutions to solve social issues across the globe. Alejandro Aravena released numerous residential designs that focus on tackling the urban housing crisis in various developing cities in the world. His firm posted four types of affordable ‘incremental’ project drawings (in PDF format) on their website for people to download for free. The names of the projects are Quinta, Monroy, Lo Barnechea, and Monterrey.
The firm aims to provide material worldwide that encourages sustainable development concerning low-cost and maximum social interaction. The designs are open to modification according to the local rules, regulations, and availability of materials. He has also presented in ‘TED talks’ explaining his concept of “incremental housing”.
Another architect dedicated to designing wonders for the world is Bjarke Bundgaard Ingels, a Danish architect, founder, and creative partner of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). In a TED talk, he spoke about his vision to use sustainability as a tool to improve the quality of life. His project Copenhill is a power plant turned into a ski resort that has proved to be one of the most unique green buildings ever built. This building is designed to convert 440,000 tons of waste into energy every year. It also includes the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall, a snowless ski slope, and an educational facility. Mass housing can adopt various strategies to ensure a successful built environment in the cities.
“8 House” is another residential project of Ingels that houses 475 units. The plan is in the form of figure 8 that creates two large courtyards. The built form encourages neighbourly interaction whilst increasing each unit’s access to light, ventilation, and view.
An Architect, Max Schwitalla from Berlin, has come up with design visions of what the city of the future could look like. At first glance, his designs seem utopian but are fully functional and depict the living spaces of entire neighbourhoods. Each design focuses on enhancing the healthy interaction and social lifestyle of people.
In his concepts, the primary and necessary infrastructures are placed as a single superordinate structure, and the space in between is flexible to design according to the use and owner’s taste. He also focuses on creating meeting spaces at various levels that ensure social sustainability. Schwitalla’s architecture studio also works together with mobility sectors to provide new sustainable transport that can be used by all age groups.
To conclude, it is true that mass housing is the best solution to fast urbanization. Therefore, it is our responsibility to ensure that we rethink and create a sustainable future that contributes to not only the environment but also includes it for the betterment of people’s quality of life.
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