Good, affordable housing in India, in its most busy and developing areas, is as expensive as it is hard to find. In prime cities like Mumbai, even a cramped little room will have a stunning price tag. Also, we aren’t strangers to the pains involved in forced moves. In many parts of the country, floods, earthquakes and other calamities have rendered people homeless, giving them no option but to find shelter in new places. A still painful reminder of this were the floods that struck the south of India in 2015, primarily Chennai. With 14,000 people evacuated during the terrible event, we can imagine their struggles in finding shelter and then later, restarting and rebuilding their lives.
But, wouldn’t it be really simple if victims of such disasters could merely uproot their homes and plant them elsewhere? Wouldn’t it be super simple if they could just fold their houses like tents and carry on to a new location? A team from IIT Madras thinks this is highly likely, and has fashioned a foldable and portable low-cost house that could transform processes like housing and resettlement in numerous parts of our country.
Civil engineering students at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, have designed a two-storey house that can be transported anywhere. Made of metal frames, the prototype could work as shelter for up to 20 people, and is aimed mainly at people left homeless by natural calamities. 52 feet in length and breadth, and close to 40 feet tall, the structure comes with walls that are interchangeable. Further, the house’s panels and the entire structure itself have provisions for electricity and water supply too. The team behind the innovation has designed it in such a way that the rooms of the house can be dismantled and folded. However, the toilet, that comes in a separate box and even brings with it faucets, although portable, can’t be folded.
The eight member-strong team behind the house has plans to start up and take their innovation all the way. Speaking about the floods and their motivation behind the affordable house, Shreeram, a third year student, said,
Hundreds of people were displaced and had no shelter after the floods in the city last year. It was then that we decided to come up with a foldable house. Wooden panels can be used as walls. Any material can be used.”
When the structure goes on sale, the team hopes to put a reasonable price tag of Rs 3 lakhs on it. A creation like this could come as a boon to thousands, especially if the city is hit with another lash of merciless rainfall. Who knows? Maybe a portable school could be next…