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

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View of the KODA House_©Paul Kuimet

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

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Night View of the KODA House_©Paul Kuimet
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Plan of the KODA House_©Paul Kuimet

2. The Jim Vlock First Year Building Project 2015 – New Haven, Connecticut

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View of the Project_©Dezeen. (2015)

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.

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Interior View of the Project_©Dezeen. (2015)
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Ground Floor Plan_©Dezeen. (2015)

3. Mami House – Matosinhos, Portugal

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View of the Mami House_©Joao Morgado

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.

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Interior View of the Mami House_©Joao Morgado
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Ground Floor Plan_©Joao Morgado. [Photograph]

4. Low-Cost Container House by JYA-RCHITECTS – Jangheung-Gun, South Korea

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View of the Container House_©Hwang Hyochel

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.

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Interior View of the Container House_©Hwang Hyochel
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First Floor Plan_©Hwang Hyochel

5. Low-Cost Housing, Vo Trong Nghia Architects – Vietnam

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View of the House_©Hiroyuki Oki

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.

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Interior View of the House_©Hiroyuki Oki
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Plan of the House_©Hiroyuki Oki

6. Low-Cost Houses by IIT Madras – Chennai, India

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View of the Prototype House_©ecodeaz.com

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.

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Construction_©ecodeaz.com
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Construction Process_©ecodeaz.com

7. House in La Prosperina – Guayaquil, Ecuador

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Front Elevation of the House_©Fabrica Nativa Arquitectura

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.

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Interior View of the House_©Fabrica Nativa Arquitectura
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First Floor Plan_©Fabrica Nativa Arquitectura

8. The Evans House – Mendoza, Argentina

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View of the Evans House_©Michael Evans

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. 

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Interior View of the Evans House_©Michael Evans
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Ground Floor Plan_©Michael Evans

9. Manifesto House – Curacavi, Chile

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Front Elevation_©containerhacker.com

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.

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Interior View of the House_©containerhacker.com
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Ground Floor Plan_©containerhacker.com

10. The Pocket House – Belo Horizonte, Brazil

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View of the Pocket House_©Jomar Bragança

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.

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Interior View of the House_©Jomar Bragança
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Interior View of the House_©Jomar Bragança

11. Modern Houses by Erb Santiago – Argentina

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View of the House_©Erb Santiago

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.

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View of the House_©Erb Santiago
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View of the House_©Erb Santiago

12. Butaro Doctors’ Housing – Burera District, Northern Province, Rwanda

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View of the Housing Project_©Iwan Baan

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.

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View of the Housing Project_©Iwan Baan
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Floor Plan_©Iwan Baan

13. House Unimog – Tübingen, Germany

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View of House Unimog_©Sebastian Berger

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.

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View from the Second Floor_©Sebastian Berger
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Second Floor Plan_©Sebastian Berger

14. Aranya Community Housing – Indore, India

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Front Elevation_©akdn.org

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.

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View of the Housing Project_©archnet.org
View of the Housing Project_©akdn.org

15. Sorte Hus – Copenhagen, Denmark

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View of the House_©Sigurd Larsen

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.

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Interior View of the House_©Sigurd Larsen
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Floor Plan_©Sigurd Larsen

References:

  1. Kodasema (2021). KODA [online]. Available at: https://www.kodasema.com/

[Accessed 31 March 2021].

  1. 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].
  2. 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].
  3. 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].
  4. 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].
  5. 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].
  6. 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].
  7. 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].
  8. 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
Author

Priyesha is currently a student at RV College of Architecture, Bengaluru. An avid reader with a passion for travelling, she also has a background in public speaking, debating, creative writing and music. She aims to find a good balance between these personal interests and her academic interest in architecture.

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