Livingboard is the new prototype of a low-cost system for housing in rural communities designed and built by international design practice CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati in collaboration with Indian non-profit organization WeRise: the aim is to provide access to basic services (from electricity to water treatment) while encouraging an open-source approach to design, allowing people to build their own dwellings.
The project consists of a flexible core system which is made of low-cost materials and constitutes the floor of a 12-square meter room (3x4m). It can provide, depending on the geography and infrastructure of the region, water storage and distribution, water treatment through filtration, waste management, heating, batteries to accumulate PV-generated electricity and wi-fi connectivity; also, from a structural point of view, it provides seismic isolation by separating the building’s superstructure from the substructure.
In addition, Livingboard can be flat-packed, paying homage to 20th-century US inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller and his dream of “air-deliverable buildings”.
“The Maker movement has shown how empowering it is to put the new fabrication tools in the hands of people” says Professor Carlo Ratti, founder of CRA practice and Director of the Senseable City Lab at MIT. “An important challenge for the next years will be to apply the same principle to construction – transferring the DIY attitude of Fab Labs to housing. This is the vision behind our design for Livingboard.”
The first pilot is currently under study for development in the Indian state of Karnataka, near Bangalore.