When earthquakes hit, they can devastate entire cities. And rebuilding destroyed buildings costs a lot labour, time, and money.
Renowned architect Anupama Kundoo may have a solution — for homeowners, at least. The Indian architect, who is known for designing low-income buildings, has come up with a cheap, earthquake-resistant, easy-to-build home.
Kundoo tells Tech Insider that she has been commissioned to build 22 prototype homes in Auroville, India, and her firm, Anupama Kundoo, is crowdfunding to build more of the houses, called Full Fill Homes.
Much like Legos or Tetris, people can stack readymade plaster blocks to build the homes, which take just six days and $A6,396 each. The blocks can form different rooms in the house — from the kitchen to the bathroom.
Take a look.
India has a history of intense earthquakes. In the past two years, the country has suffered seven quakes and aftershocks -- the highest hitting a 7.8 on the Richter Scale. Auroville isn't known for earthquakes, but if the first phase goes well, the team will build the homes in natural disaster-prone zones.
The Full Fill Home can resist earthquakes, Kundoo says. The team is, however, still testing what level earthquake the homes can withstand.
The home's strength comes from a material called ferrocement, a plaster painted over metal wire mesh and rod reinforcements.
The home is made from stacked blocks of ferrocement. They're only an inch thick, but the foundation's flexible wire mesh absorbs any violent shakes.
Kundoo says ferrocement is more durable and lightweight than reinforced cement concrete (the material used to build most homes in India), which can fall on top of people in large chunks during earthquakes.
The blocks, which also serve as storage, look like hollow boxes turned on their side. The photos show voids between the blocks, but they can also be filled with more blocks.
The homes cost about $A6,396 to build, including labour and materials. The price could be lower if multiple homes were built together.
Kondoo designed the homes with speed and cost in mind. When you need to rebuild your home after an earthquake, you don't have a lot of time and resources, she says.
Since more people are moving to cities, we need stronger buildings that can be built quickly and cheaply when natural disasters strike, Kundoo believes. 'We are at the crossroads regarding the way we build buildings and cities,' she says.
'Solving housing mustn't be a tedious process depleting life's savings,' Kundoo says. 'People should (have) a roof over their heads as simply as possible and move on, liberating their time to develop themselves and focus on living itself.'
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