When we were discussing the product development with CLT, a good idea came to my mind. Recently I read a news that a Chilean architect & designer, Alejandro Aravena won the 2016 Pritzker Prize with his design “semi-product” for renovation project of slum in 2004.

 

My idea is to combine Alejandro´s semi-product and CLT material.

We know that CLT has many advantages and it is a good material for construction indeed. But the situation now is that CLT is well known in some developed countries though has not been widely used. Therefore, I think the way for CLT how to enter the public consciousness is very important. The first thing is to find out where is the business opportunity.

I noticed that there is a great demand on slum because of the polarization of wealth distribution. Slum is a general phenomenon in the process of urbanization, however, no matter developed countries or developing countries are used to face or be facing many problems caused by slum. First, slum is imcompatible with the rapid development of urbanization. In addition, Slum usually come with a series of negative effects such as dirty, disorderly and high level of crime.

 

In Alejandro´s case, at the beginning, he was invited to be the designer of renovation project for a slum which is located in the north of Chile after an earthquake. The earthquake ruined many buildings at that time and Alejandro had only short time to renovate and build. Each family of slumdweller could get 7500 USD as housing subsidies. As the housing subsidies are limited, if Alejandro design a house of 80 square meter for each family, they can´t afford all of the cost on renovation. As a result, Alejandro designed the “semi-product” in which there is only 40 square meter available for each family and another 40 square meter are unbuilt. When some slumdwellers become rich in the future, they can build up the rest 40 square by themselves.

Actually, Alejandro´s project is very practical and should be copied in other countries. According to a recent report from UN-HABITAT, the global population of slumdwellers had increased 36% in the last decade of 20th century, and the amount will reach at 2 billion in 2030. In China, around 1.2 billion people can´t afford new house and they could only rent apartments with high price and live a tough life. Besides be applied to slums in developing countries, the product can be also applied to refugee camp.

 

Generally, slum or hut is made from trees, as a result, they are flammable. In November 2015, a fire result in 800 hut´s collapse, and more than 2 thousands families became homeless who lived in a slum in suburban of Manila, the capital of Philippine. If natural and man-made disaster such as fire, earthquake, flood, etc. happen, it might bring a big number of casualties to slum which is as densely inhabited district and has poor condition.

 

That´s why CLT considered to be the best material on construction of slum as it is earthquake-proof, and it has excellent fire safety characteristics.

 

Sources:

http://www.dezeen.com/2016/01/13/alejandro-aravena-interview-pritzker-prize-laureate-2016-social-incremental-housing-chilean-architect/

http://www.theigc.org/blog/half-built-homes-can-ease-slums/


   
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