These Lego-style homes can withstand earthquakes and cost under $6,500 to build

1466 0015Anupama Kundoo ArchitectsThe Full Fill Home on display at this year’s Venice Biennale.

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.

auroville.org
Auroville, India.

The Full Fill Home can resist earthquakes, Kundoo says. The team is, however, still testing what level earthquake the homes can withstand.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

The home's strength comes from a material called ferrocement, a plaster painted over metal wire mesh and rod reinforcements.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

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.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

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.

Anupama Kundoo Architects/Leanna Garfield
Even if the ferrocement blocks splinter, they will crumble in small patches, not giant holes like normal cement.

In just six days, a construction team can build the homes. There are unlimited configurations.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

The prototype measures about 400 square feet with a small terrace.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

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.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

The homes cost about $A6,396 to build, including labour and materials. The price could be lower if multiple homes were built together.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

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.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

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.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

The homes in Auroville will be the first real-life tests of the structures.

Anupama Kundoo Architects

'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.'

Anupama Kundoo Architects

If you'd like to learn more or support this project, head over to the Full Fill Home's site.

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