KPF Social Housing,
Vidharbha (Maharashtra)

This Low Cost Housing uses effective budgeting and techniques which help in reducing the cost of construction using locally available & innovative materials along with improved skills and technology without sacrificing the strength, performance and life of the structure and proper management of resources. The project addressed a population with approximately 800 households and a combined population of 4,000 people.

For the residents, housing is not only about access to shelter but also about habitat. The question was not whether 35 sq m is sufficient for a family of five, but on the quality of life and economic opportunities the new neighborhood would offer. Pursuing a certain lifestyle and maintaining traditional livelihoods emerged as the focal points of this housing. Once we embodied the life and livelihoods inter linkages in this community, arriving at the conceptual design was relatively easy. Four different schemes were presented in large community meetings for feedback. The main feature of the new design was its modular cluster approach, based on two-level street designs.

The detailed schematic design was guided by frequent community visits that were intense and lively. These repeated interactions were key to building the good will and trust among the residents who were anxious about the redevelopment. Visuals created considerable excitement during the community meetings. Special consideration for livelihoods meant providing workshops/cattle sheds that offer a separate dedicated space in close proximity to their homes, providing a street-based scheme that allows them to continue home-based work in their front verandas, while interacting with neighbors and supervising playing children. The street width ensured not access by cars, and limited only to 3 wheeler, providing ramps and stairs at frequent points that enable residents to carry raw materials and finished goods into and out of their homes easily.

 

​Other design factors that were paramount for the community were social interaction spaces. These intangibles link to the way livelihoods and lifestyles are manifested in their lives. Women work in front of an open front door where the light trickles in; therefore, providing a semi-private, well-lit work area enabling interaction with the neighbors is their idea of a comfortable working environment.

© 2006 by Designers' Alcove for Art & Architecture. All rights reserved.