One of India’s leading companies has designed a £197 ‘nano house’ it believes could solve the world’s housing crisis and lift its two billion poor out of slum housing.
The tiny building has bamboo walls, fibre roofing and a mud floor which means it can be built anywhere with local materials, its designers claim.
Mahindra, the Indian automobiles to defence multinational company, designed the house as part of a Harvard design challenge to build a house for under $300.
Their design will now be used to build a prototype before a decision is made on commercial production.
The development reflects the growing numbers of Indian firms targeting its hundreds of millions of rural poor and lower-income groups in its growing cities. It the last three years Indian companies have developed the world’s cheapest car – the £1,200 Nano – and a £10 water purifier, while mobile phone companies have offered handsets designed for poor rickshaw drivers and farmers.
Mahindra believes its house could revolutionise the lives of India’s rural poor.
Designer Mohan Raghavan said although the house is small – it measures 23.6 sq ft – it addresses people’s need for dry shelter, light, ventilation, cooling and safety from insects and mosquitoes.
The bamboo structure will make the house earthquake and monsoon-proof, while solar lanterns and purifiers will offer free light and clean water at a nominal extra cost.
“The house is designed for rural and homeless people in developing countries like India and Africa, where a large number of population cannot afford cheap and effective housing. The basic aim is to enable homeless people to own a house,” he said.
In rural areas, the houses will be build in clusters with shared kitchens and bathrooms.
Their simplicity means they can be built in four days and could serve as a replacement for tents as emergency homes for flood and earthquake victims, he said.