Founded in 2002 the Danish non-profit organisation INDEX:’s mission is to secure high-quality design to improve life internationally. With their yearly INDEX:Award they honor design and architecture projects in five categories: Body, Home, Work, Play and Community. The winners in five categories will each receive 100,000 euros.
This year’s 72 design finalists will be on public view at the INDEX:Award Exhibition, Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen, starting August 21, 2009.
One of the finalists is the $700 House by the German architects Jan Schreiber and Stefan Becker, who planned this projects with the Technical University in Berlin.
The design is specifically intended for extremely poor countries in Latin America that have suffered from natural disasters such as earthquakes. To families and people who need proper, durable and affordable re-housing, this solution offers flexible construction that costs no more than $700. The house can easily be dismantled, moved and rebuilt on a new site with the same materials. Furthermore, its strong but flexible structure makes the design resistant to earthquakes.
“Our aim was to create a cheap and safe “real” house that could be constructed in a short time by volunteers and future owners,” said the german architects behind the design, Jan Schreiber and Stefan Becker.
“Based on the fact that bricks are very cheap, widespread and locally produced in most latin-american countries on the one hand and the competition´s requirement of demountability on the other hand, we tried to work with pre-stressing instead of mortar. The walls are made of perforated bricks, tensioned between foundation and ring beam made of precast conrete elements. For pre-stressing we used a system of the packaging industry that is normally used to secure heavy goods: Sintetic fiber strips, stressed with a hand operated tightener. These strips can hold up to 50kN, depending on the width and are quiet cheap as well.”