Shelters for All Housing Competition — 15 Comments

  1. Ditto on the Craftsman… The openness alone makes it the better choice for any size home. The Sweet Spot could give you four Beds with minimal re-designing though. The Double wide is a great plan in its self but not applicable for this contest. Spent some time on the site, that questionnaire will be the first hurdle for some people. It does seem rather cryptic, with them trying to discern too much information from just one contest. Perhaps, that’s my lack of Ivy League interaction just talking. The square footage is bordering on absurd in my humble opinion as well, but if you want to play in there sandbox… that’s the rule. Thinking I will toss my hat in also, just for the fun of it.
    Tried to put you in the reference section but we need to provide an email address, for what I am assuming is tracking purposes.

    • My email is on the top of the page under About Us: strawhouses [AT]

      I’m not looking forward to answering their questionnaire. I think that will turn away a few folks.

  2. That nice big open space for living and eating would be my favored plan. Though if it wouldn’t hurt your chances, I’d like the English Cottage design a lot too.

  3. I guess it would depend on where in the world the house would be built. If it were to be a Habitat for Humanity house in the US, I would say the Craftsman concept would win hands down. Alternatively, the laundry room could be used for pantry, storage, or a nursery.

  4. I’d enter a “Round House” and force feed it down their throats. Obviously they’re really not interested in providing housing for the poor of the poorest. How does an earthbag compare to a cardboard box?

  5. 700-1100, that is an extremely large house considering where it is to be located. A 400 sqft house makes much more sense. I have been partial to the Summer Breeze plan, but it is too large. I like the Craftsman because of the laundry, but really how necessary is it? Of course the laundry and bath could become another bedroom. If all the building has to accomplish is to provide sleeping and communal space, a big box divided into rooms could accomplish that. I believe I would go with the smallest 3 bedroom plan you have that fits the contest rules. 700 sq ft is not as big as you think if you have a family. I know, because I lived for a number of years in a 800 sqft house. It’s not uncomfortable, but I could see it being cramped with more then a family of 5. Perhaps the living/communal area could be combined with the kitchen area. Kitchens have always been a place for people to get together.

  6. There is a price for recruitment efforts too. Owen are you aiming for that too? Then share a link here in the comments so I(anyone) can sign up from that.

  7. Designing 700 – 1,100 sq. ft. homes for the poorest people in urban areas doesn’t make sense to me. Poor people like this often can’t afford 400 – 500 sq. ft. houses or even the land. That’s the main reason I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around what the jurors/contest organizers are looking for. It’s as if they are expecting western size homes for the poorest of the poor.

    • Seems as much. I looked it up and didn’t find much of a criteria for the contest so I can imagine that it must be a little difficult. I guess most people living in the slum housing/tent cities like are shown on their website would be happy with 4 solid walls and a good roof. I thought I saw a design where there was a breezeway between 2 parts of a house. I can’t remember which one but maybe that could work, also. Yes, I think size is not as important as soundness in this case.

  8. Hi, Owen – I really like the craftsman style home because it has three bedrooms. As far as changing the plans, I’d take into consideration their needs; i.e,
    1) do they need a laundry room – most don’t have washers and dryers
    2) would your outdoor oven/grill work better than having a wood-burning stove and range
    3) bathroom – how do they normally bathe – would they have running water.

    Once those issues have been addressed I think you could redesign the interior for extra sleeping quarters. Then, I’d do a 2-story for a multi-family dwelling, if possible. Hope this helps.

    • Houses in the competition must be one story. Baths and kitchens are optional. (They can go cook outside or use communal baths.) It’s up to the designer.

      The Sweet Spot plan also has 3 bedrooms.

      Most poor areas are in hot climates, so I don’t imagine the wood stove will be used much except on cold nights in the winter. Putting a cook stove there wouldn’t be practical.

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