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Dharavi is a located in Mumbai, India, which is known for its large number of informal settlements. Dharavi has an extremely high population density as a million people lives in a 2.1 sq km area. The average size of an informal settlement in Dharavi is around 120 sq ft with around 4-10 residents, lacking a sense of personal space, and a family will often have to sleep next to each other as there are no space. Most informal settlements in Dharavi are constructed by concrete with a piece of corrugated metal as the roof, leading to leakage and other problems. The condition of the informal housing is unacceptable in any circumstances, the lack of basic infrastructure such as electricity and plumbing has led to constant health problem to the residents, especially during COVID-19, where social distancing is impossible for many who lives in the informal settlements.
My aim for this project is to design a practical home for the people in this neighborhood—a place where the people feel safe, where there is a sense of belonging, and not just a shelter. In order to construct a house with high quality material for different household type, the ability to be modified, cost and lead time would be important. Therefore, prefabricated house would be very suitable for this project.
The displayed model is a three-story house which each story is around 120 sq ft. The displayed house is designed for 4 people (2 adults and 2 children). The house is constructed with prefabricated concrete panels, the reason is that concrete has high strength and high durability, it is also one of the most common building materials in Mumbai. In my design there are vent cut outs on the walls in order to cool down the space as Dharavi has a tropical climate. The primary material used for the interior of the house is plywood, it is relatively low-cost, durable, and aesthetically pleasing as it is able gives the houses a sense of warmth.
The house has a lot of potential for modification in the future, such as a green roof which can reflect more sunlight off the house, therefore, lower the temperature of the house during the hot weather, as well as reducing the amount of rainwater as plumbing is not well developed in Dharavi’s slum area. The addition of a solar panel can also increase the sustainability of the house, providing electricity for the household. Another addition would be a bathroom if the infrastructure of the community is more developed where plumbing is available for each household.
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