One of the defining issues of our time is the rapid urbanization that is occurring in almost every country across the globe. With more and more people relocating to urban areas every year, city planners are constantly struggling with how to deal with the influx of new residents.
Probably the biggest concern is how they are going to house all these people.
In order to help address the issue, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) started their Cities For Our Future competition this January, asking young professionals to submit their ideas. This year’s winner of the 50,000 pounds prize ($62,604) was 23-year-old Filipino Earl Patrick Forlales who came up with a very innovative solution.
His low-cost bamboo design, named CUBO, can be put together in four hours and costs only £50 ($62) per square meter.
The prize money will be used to first build a prototype, and then if all goes well, actual units too.
The modular CUBO homes made of engineered bamboo will come with a number of interesting design features including a sloped roof that collects rainwater and reduces heat gain, as well as elevated stilts that will help prevent against flooding.
In an interview with the BBC World Service, Forlales discussed the project:
“It’s a functional home on its own, but it’s more than just a house. It’s designed to turn community waste into energy and other valuable resources,” Forlales said.
Forlales is from Manila, Philippines where bamboo material is both abundant and cheap. It’s also an area that is in dire need of new housing solutions.
Out of the 12 million people that live there, about a third currently reside in slums. On top of that, another 2.5 million workers are expected to arrive in the city over the next three years.
“The affordable housing solution must necessarily be low-cost, sustainable, robust and long-lasting. We cannot make do with band-aid solutions,” Forlales told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Housing opens up opportunities, so the solution must be decent and dignified, giving residents access to all necessary amenities for a better life,” he said.
The Philippines will be the testing ground, however, CUBO housing is viable in essentially any location where bamboo is available.
This includes most of Southeast Asia, as well as many parts of Latin America and Africa.
Forlales said his inspiration for CUBO stemmed from the bamboo hut that his grandparents lived in outside of Manila, however, his bamboo will be treated and laminated to provide for a 10-times longer lifecycle.
“CUBO started as nothing more than an idea, conceived while spending time at my grandparent’s house – it is incredible to think that it now will become a reality,” Forlales said.
“I would like to thank RICS for the opportunity to develop the idea, and look forward to working with them to put this money to good use in Manila, and then hopefully elsewhere around the world.”
Over 1200 people entered in this year’s RICS Cities For Our Future competition.
Check out the video below to see more images of this fascinating housing design.
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