Low-cost Prefab Housing for Rural India

    Architecture practice Carlo Ratti Associati has designed a low-cost prefabricated housing system for Indian non-profit WeRise. The new “Livingboard” system was made so that homeowners can build any structure they like on top of it. Made as a pilot project to encourage rural housing development, the system is being tested in a village outside Bangalore. As a portable “motherboard”, the design provides homeowners prefabricated and flat-packed elements like waste management and water treatment systems.

    Currently, the new design focuses on the Karnataka region in India and how to minimize water consumption. Embracing a spirit of making, Livingboard includes heating, batteries for energy storage and Wi-Fi connectivity. As Carlo Ratti said, “The maker movement has shown how empowering it is to put the new fabrication tools in the hands of people. An important challenge for the next years will be to apply the same principle to construction – transferring the DIY attitude of Fab Labs to housing. This is the vision behind our design for Livingboard.”

    Aiming to empower the local community to take on the building process themselves, WeRise will run workshops with a volunteer architect from the RMZ Foundation. Homeowners will also work with WeRise and its local partners to pick the finishings for the house. For the pilot project, the companies foresee working with compressed earth blocks for the units and local woods.