Lori Zimmer

The $300 House: Harvard Business Review Launches Contest to Design Affordable Housing for Developing Areas

by , 05/18/11

Rahul Mehrotra, Bob Freling, Stuart Hart, Harvard Business Review Blog, Ingersoll Rand’s Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, $300 House, prefab housing, Architecture Contest, Yves Behar,

In a quest to provide safe housing for everyone around the world, no matter what their economic standing, the Harvard Business Review Blog has teamed up with Ingersoll Rand’s Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability to present the $300 House design competition. The contest is open to anyone and boasts a hefty prize of $25,000 and the chance to have your house prototype actually produced.



The challenge is to design a “simple dwelling that keeps a family safe, allows them to sleep at night, gives them protection from the elements and a sense of dignity, for $300.” Judged by a panel of big names in the design world such as Yves Behar, Rahul Mehrotra, Bob Freling and Stuart Hart, the competition’s winners will be chosen online, and will then be whisked away on a 2 week workshop to build their prototypes in Alabama with the organization COMMON. They will also engage in a social venture to manufacture and distribute the $300 homes.

The $300 home could help solve the world’s homelessness problem, providing self-sufficient dwellings, rather than communal homeless shelters, and give underprivileged families the chance and confidence they need to move onto a better life.

+ $300 House

+ Ingersoll Rand’s Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

Via Springhouse

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1 Comment

  1. caeman May 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    The humble yurt is the solution. They come in all sizes. They are stable, resist weather well and are generally very portable. The actual materials they can be built from is legion. It is a compact design that uses the least amount of material for the maximum amount of space.

    Though, if the idea it to replace a shanty town with safer structures, you gain a better cost per living unit by building in bulk. For example, you build a single long building of two one-room units, lined up, like a barn. The middle wall provides the central roof support. With all of living units sharing walls and roof, the cost per unit could easily be lower than $300. The highest cost factor would be the flooring. Concrete is best, and the cost of a 12 inch deep slab would spread over the entirety of the living units.

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