CRA is working with Indian non-profit organization WeRise to design and build a low-cost system for housing in rural communities.
Livingboard is the prototype of a portable “motherboard system” to improve housing conditions in rural parts of India. It provides access to basic services – from electricity to water treatment – while encouraging an open-source approach to design, allowing people to build their own dwellings on top of a prefabricated core. The first pilot is currently under study for development in the Indian state of Karnataka, near Bangalore.
Livingboard is a flexible “core” system to support the development of housing initiatives in any rural area of the world. This core must be positioned horizontally, constituting the floor of a 12-square meter room (3x4m). It can provide, depending on the geography and infrastructure of the region in question, 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.
As Livingboard is compatible with different house designs, locals can build their homes on top of it, selecting from the motherboard’s basic functions and deciding on the housing structure to go around it in accordance with their needs and desires. Livingboard aims to become the focal point of domestic space, around which the house’s inhabitants can gather, cook, wash and read.
Made of low-cost materials that can be flat-packed, Livingboard also pays homage to 20th-century US inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller and his dream of “air-deliverable buildings.” Today, Livingboard can potentially be carried by helicopters or even drones so as to reach any remote location.
Livingboard revolves around the idea that housing should not be a static unit that is packaged and handed over to people, but rather should be conceived of as an ongoing project wherein the residents are co-creators. In this way, the design is constantly evolving, allowing users to choose the features that work most effectively for them. The
pilot currently under development for the Karnataka region aims to respond to the area’s climate and environmental conditions – characterized by a low precipitation rate – by treating and recycling homes’ greywater to irrigate agricultural fields.