One of the first things that come to mind with the emergence of new architectural projects, be it a house, a commercial building, or even a public space, is undeniably the budget for the project. As wonderful as it would sound to be able to build just about anything you envision, the reality is that money plays an extremely important role in any industry.
Most people do not have millions to throw at a project, which is where the idea of budget-friendly architecture comes into play. And with the world facing a global housing crisis, the importance of judicious architecture is indisputable.
So, here are 15 such projects you can look upto.
1. KODA by Kodasema – United Kingdom
The KODA house was made by Kodasema at a low budget of just £150,000 – including the cost of site preparation and building guidelines, delivery, installing water, electricity, and sewage services. The house makes most of the 26 sqm it is fitted in, taking a step forward in a bid to solve the UK’s housing crisis
2. The Jim Vlock First Year Building Project 2015 – New Haven, Connecticut
With a construction budget of $130,000, Graduate students at the Yale School of Architecture designed and built a contemporary family home of about 93 sqm in a low-income neighborhood. The two-story house, clad in red cedar, is topped with a pitched roof made of galvanized aluminum.
3. Mami House – Matosinhos, Portugal
The architect Nunes de Oliveira, initially given a budget of €80,000 which was later increased to €100,000, designed the Mami House in 2016. The finish of the building was kept very simple to reduce costs. Externally, walls were coated with a pale grey render, while the concrete was left bare inside.
4. Low-Cost Container House by JYA-RCHITECTS – Jangheung-Gun, South Korea
This is a low-cost family house built in Jangheung, a small village in South Korea. It was built from three 20 foot shipping containers along with cheap materials like bubble wrap and corrugated steel sheets. Two containers are used for the living quarters and bedrooms, while a third container accommodates the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry spaces.
5. Low-Cost Housing, Vo Trong Nghia Architects – Vietnam
Vo Trong Nghia Architects felt that Vietnam was in dire need of low-cost permanent housing, and have developed a prefabricated dwelling for the modest sum of $4,000. The building uses light frames with simple bolted connections. Locally sourced finishing materials can be readily added or easily replaced.
6. Low-Cost Houses by IIT Madras – Chennai, India
Some of the researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras have developed a form of low-cost housing suited for India. A two-bedroom house of 800 sq ft for a cost Rs 10 lakh, the house uses glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG) panels. As of now, only the prototype has been built as the IIT campus.
7. House in La Prosperina – Guayaquil, Ecuador
This house was built by Fabrica Nativa Arquitectura for a young man on a limited budget on the site of his existing house. Some of the materials of the existing house were recycled — the sheet metal roof, sanitary facilities, three out of four walls, the bathroom, the floor made of wooden slats and particle boards.
8. The Evans House – Mendoza, Argentina
This house of 270 sq m located in the Argentine wine country with a million-dollar view was constructed on an affordable budget by A4estudio using common materials like reinforced concrete, steel, and wood. The project is designed with the logic of the hollowed trunk and integrates perfectly with its environment.
9. Manifesto House – Curacavi, Chile
The Manifesto House designed by James & Mau for Infiniski in 2009 is a perfect example of Infiniski’s style of designing and building eco-friendly houses and buildings using recycled, reused, and non-polluting materials and integrating alternative and renewable energy. This 160 sq m construction is fabricated from repurposed packing pallets.
10. The Pocket House – Belo Horizonte, Brazil
A prime example of cargotecture (shipping container architecture), the Pocket House by Cristina Menezes Arquitetura is a luxury home built from a 40-foot shipping container at a surprisingly low cost. The house has an open plan living space comprising a kitchen on one end of the container, dining space, and living room.
11. Modern Houses by Erb Santiago – Argentina
Erb Santiago Arquitectura has designed a simple, affordable two-storied home constructed using low-cost timber-framing and is built on an economical concrete slab foundation that extends beyond the walls of the house and lines the perimeter and a concrete curtain for the carport.
12. Butaro Doctors’ Housing – Burera District, Northern Province, Rwanda
This project of about 440 sq m, costing $400,000, including the construction of a road, pedestrian paths, and water and electricity services by MASS Design Group for the Butaro Hospital was constructed using compressed stabilized earth blocks and bricks fabricated in a workshop on location with soil excavated from the worksite.
13. House Unimog – Tübingen, Germany
House Unimog by Fabian Evers Architecture and Wezel Architektur is a one-of-a-kind house in that it includes a garage that stores the client’s truck (a Unimog) and a small residential unit which was built on a very tight budget. The first floor has Opaque corrugated cladding while the lower level is surrounded by translucent polycarbonate with matching ridges.
14. Aranya Community Housing – Indore, India
Aranya Housing is a project by B V Doshi is a low-cost housing project organized in six sectors around a central spine. The foundation encourages home plot owners to use locally available materials for construction like brick, stone, and concrete, but owners are free to use any material they choose for house construction and decoration.
15. Sorte Hus – Copenhagen, Denmark
This family house by architect Sigurd Larsen was built for a budget of £95,000. “The innovative and affordable single-family residence combines intelligent use of prefabricated materials to minimize costs while utilizing a simple spatial composition to maximize room”, said the architect.
- Kodasema (2021). KODA [online]. Available at: https://www.kodasema.com/
[Accessed 31 March 2021].
- Yale Architecture (2021). The Jim Vlock First Year Building Project [online]. Available at: https://www.architecture.yale.edu/academics/building-project [Accessed 31 March 2021].
- Dezeen (2021). Mami House is a “mini bunker” built for a couple on a very tight budget [online]. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/05/09/mami-house-noarq-low-budget-concrete-home-portugal-mini-bunker-jose-carlos-nunes-de-oliveira-noarq/ [Accessed 31 March 2021].
- Goutham V (2016). IIT Madras Innovates Eco-Friendly Low-Cost Houses [online]. Available at: https://www.ecoideaz.com/innovative-green-ideas/iit-madras-innovates-eco-friendly-low-cost-houses [Accessed 31 March 2021].
- The PractitioNERD (2016). The House in La Prosperina by Fabrica Nativa Arquitectura [online]. Available at: https://thepractitionerd.com/2016/07/25/the-house-in-la-prosperina-by-fabrica-nativa-arquitectura/ [Accessed 31 March 2021].
- Dezeen (2015). Vo Trong Nghia Architects’ low-cost housing moves towards mass production [online]. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2015/10/13/vo-trong-nghia-architects-low-cost-housing-s-house-prototype-mass-production-chicago-architecture-biennial-2015/ [Accessed 31 March 2021].
- Homify (2020). Architecture: 8 Beautiful houses that were very cheap to build [online]. Available at https://www.homify.com/ideabooks/1246630/architecture-8-beautiful-houses-that-were-very-cheap-to-build [Accessed 1 April 2021].
- Architectural Record (2013). Butaro Doctors’ Housing [online]. Available at https://www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/7919-butaro-doctors-housing#:~:text=The%20project%20cost%20%24400%2C000%2C%20a,and%20electricity%20to%20the%20site. [Accessed 1 April 2021].
- ShelterMode. (2019). Low-Cost Container House in South Korea by JYA Architects. [YouTube video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=256_11e1IXU [Accessed 1 April 2021].p