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Homing in on the $1000 House Design

Home prices in many famous cities are over $1,000 per square foot but MIT architects from the “1K House” project have already produced a $5,925 home prototype.

What’s the Latest Development?

Home prices in many famous cities run to well over $1,000 per square foot. MIT architects have produced a decidedly more affordable alternative: the first prototype from the Institute’s “1K House” project, an effort to see if low-cost homes for the poor can be constructed for $1,000, total. ‘Pinwheel House’ was designed by Ying chee Chui, a graduate of MIT’s Department of Architecture, and built in Sichuan, China, for $5,925—inexpensive in relative terms.

What’s the Big Idea?

The 1K House project is particularly focused on affordable housing for areas hit by natural disasters, such as the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan. “It’s part of the responsibility of an architect, to create these spaces for people to live,” Chui says. “It’s from the heart. Pinwheel House has a modular layout, with rectangular room units surrounding a central courtyard space. “If you know how to build a single module, you can build the whole house.”


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