Building of the week: the half-house

Love love love this idea and another possibility is to build a simple one story and have it prep’ed to add another…

Make Wealth History

Architecture is often the preserve of the elite. Many of the world’s leading architects work on flagship developments for the richest in society, and RIBA’s house of the year was built for Lord Rothschild, after all. Most of the rest of us make do with off-the-shelf boxes, so I’m always interested in architects that want to work for the poorest.

Alejandro Aravena is one of those. He’s built over a thousand homes for ordinary people in Chile, with thousands more in the pipeline. His practice, Elemental, has projects all over the world, but their speciality is social housing. In particular, Aravena has become known for the half-house.

The idea was hatched in 2003, when he was asked to build 100 houses for low income families in Iquique, Chile. When his team did the maths on the government’s budget for the programme, they realised there was no way to make…

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