Do It Yourself: Affordable DIY Housing
Text: Florian Maier
A special kind of architectural project was honoured with a universal design award 2013: Future residents complete most of the interior finishing work of a basic dwelling structure themselves.
Prices of apartments have been rising successively for years, making it practically impossible for many people to be able to afford to buy their own apartment in popular urban areas. "Grundbau und Siedler" (Basic Structure and Settlers) is a project based on DIY construction by buyers of apartments in multi-storey dwellings. It reduces the cost of an apartment by up to 25 per cent and taps the potential of self-determined action.
The basic structure of these houses is a reinforced concrete skeleton with all the technical connections in place. The interior finishing work is then completed individually by the apartment owners. The layout of each apartment is flexible and can be changed independent of the supporting structure. Owners buy a complete construction kit for building a typical settler's housing unit. The kit contains all the construction materials, and a detailed manual describing all the steps of work that can be carried out independently.
"Grundbau und Siedler" of BeL Associates, Bernhardt and Leeser (Cologne) was the only architectural project among the 61 winners of the universal design award 2013. The award was obtained in the category "Universal Design/Living". It is also part of the IBA Hamburg under the title "smart price houses".
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