Hybrid House: Extraordinary Green Home Can be Built for Under $300

by , 07/26/11

ingersoll rand center for sustaniability and energy efficiency, harvard business review blog, joseph sandy hybrid house, $300 house competition, winning competition, hybrid house, slum house design, earth house design

Joseph Sandy’s incredible Hybrid House design was recently honored as one of the winners of the $300 House competition, a contest launched by both the Harvard Business Review blog and Ingersoll Rand Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability. Faced with the challenge to produce plans for a “simple dwelling”, Sandy developed an amazing idea that integrates recycled, low-cost materials into a simple, dignified and efficient home.

ingersoll rand center for sustaniability and energy efficiency, harvard business review blog, joseph sandy hybrid house, $300 house competition, winning competition, hybrid house, slum house design, earth house design

Utilizing basic materials commonly found in slum housing – ply wood planks, earth, and corrugated iron – the hybrid house would be formed using compressed earth blocks around a lightweight wooden frame. Complete with operable wood shutters, the house would make the most of natural cross breezes, minimizing the need for air conditioning.

Sandy’s design demonstrates how materials seen in slum housing could be converted to make them more efficient and better formed by simply recycling materials and redefining their purpose. He states within his design that the cost of this basic strategy would be under $100 — a fantastic achievement for such a small budget.

But his ideas don’t stop there, with ambitions to reaching towards a greater community, Sandy suggests that individual houses could be clustered around central courts, each one containing communal facilities such as a solar panel, solar cooker, and a solar water purifier that drains to a communal planter in the center.

We can’t wait to see this innovative idea become a reality.

+ Joseph Sandy

Images courtesy of Joseph Sandy

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  1. Radha Vyas January 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Solar is the only thing I see that is good for the community especially in India, Africa …, if the people would go back to the traditional way of building huts like Laurie Baker the British architect realised when he started doing research in India after Gandhi asked him to help the poor.
    So the traditional buildings and with the age old vasthu of cross ventilation is incorporated, it will be even less than $100. Maintenance is kind of high but it is more suitable for the weather conditions.
    Sandy is not introducing anything new, except for the Solar part, all these ideas have been in existence since a long time and with the British and the West, India and I am sure Africa too lost touch with their traditional methods.

  2. simon gutierrez August 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    It is very good experiment, our planet need of us, in impruving our mthods of construcction, because if you can use les materials, like dert, and reclabable materials, that is great…the reasonable way woud be to harden more the dirt.

  3. savanna hive December 2, 2011 at 3:58 am

    That’s an awesome idea!
    now all they need is this:


    water bottle used for light during the day, keeping elctricity costs down

  4. carmen fernandez September 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    El arquitecto Joseph Sandy nos confirma que la creatividad y las ideas sirven para mejorar la vida de las personas con escaso dinero, si además reciben enseñanzas, habremos avanzado siglos en escasos años. Dadas las condiciones en que vive la gente marginada en algunos lugares de nuestro país, esas viviendas serían la solución mientras las personas buscan mejorar su vida futura. No nos escandalicemos, en el año 1966 yo vivía en la calle de Mont Blanc en Bruselas en un edificio clásico de la ciudad y compartíamos el servio dos familias. No hay nada mejor para el hombre que embellecer el entorno para motivarlo en su vida diaria de trabajo y Joseph lo ha sabido mostrar. Gracias Joseph

  5. caeman July 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    That is a neat housing design. Simple, effective. Good show!

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