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ABŌD: Affordable Prefab for South Africa from BSB Design
The Abōd™ is a prototype prefab created by BSB Design for use as affordable housing in South Africa. The simple design uses a strong, natural shape as the core. It’s durable, lightweight and can be easily shipped in a compact box for quick on-site assembly. Perhaps it’s the shape or the vibrant colors of the corrugated paneling, but this design brings a cheerful presence to a very serious issue: addressing the need for high-quality, low-cost solutions to South Africa’s housing shortage.
BSB Design applied the engineering of the St. Louis arch to create the lightweight, structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing dwelling. The Abōd components pack flat and come ready for installation along with all the tools needed for assembly. With a screwdriver, awl and a ladder, the home can be constructed in one day with the teamwork of four people. While easy to assemble, these homes can be dismantled (with a security tool only) and moved by the owner.
The Abōd is designed to stand alone as a single unit but can be upgraded with add-on options like kitchens, bathrooms, cooking areas, loft expansions, end walls, window-walls, small-business walls, unique door designs, overhangs, flooring choices and closet units. Double units can be connected in a variety of configurations and the supporting arch size can be increased. Plexiglas panels can be integrated anywhere in the design to increase natural diffused light inside.
BSB Design’s subsidiary Advanced Design Innovation partnered with Barclays Bank, Absa and Africon to establish three model Abōd units in Soshanguve, a primarily rural area about 100 km north of Johannesburg, South Africa. In an area where many families lack substantial housing, the Abōd holds the promise of providing affordable, secure, architect-designed homes.
The components for the three initial homes were made in the US but BSB Design is looking to South African manufacturers to produce parts locally, bringing not only locally-sourced materials into the sustainability picture but also the possibility of new jobs to the region. The projected cost to purchase an Abōd is $1500 and the design is expected to qualify for microfinance loans.
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