“Every Family Deserves to Live in a Home Designed by an [Interior Designer]”

18 10 2008

BSB Design, an award winning architectural and planning firm, has a patent pending on a revolutionary housing project known as Abōd.  Most of their innovative work has been accomplished within the United States, but they are now targeting impoverished nations like South Africa.

Their goal is to develop a number of options for low-cost housing structures that can be assembled quickly and easily on pretty much any surface, whether the existing foundation supports it or not.  Here are a few floor plan options:

Abod Floor Plan Options

The unit itself is a standardized structure that can be joint together to create a larger structure. The homes, which are made of corrugated metal and plexiglas panels, are readily manufactured and acquired locally, if available.  Here is what the Abōd looks like:

Single Unit

Single Unit Abōd

L-Shaped Abōd

L-Shaped Abōd

Pretty innovative, but not very sustainable, especially since the materials are pre-fabricated outside of South Africa (shipping causes pollution that could have been avoided if local materials were used instead).  I do have to give props to the ease of assembly though.  The Abōd can be constructed by four people, using only a screw driver and an awl (that’s ok, I didn’t know what awl meant either and had to look it up – it’s a tool that allows you pierce holes into surfaces such as leather).

The Abōd costs $1500 a piece and can be purchased by a low-income family through micro-financing, another revolutionary idea that I’ll post about another time.

Here’s what it looks like on the interior:

Not bad!  But what happens in the winter time though?  Corrugated metal is not the best heat insulator. 

This inspired me to look into developing a standardized floor plan for a K-12 school than can be adjusted based on its location.

That’s all I’ve got for today!  It’s friday night and I need a drink.



15 10 2008

Some might say it’s a little too early to start working on my thesis – I say, to hell with you (just kidding)! Project Kenya 2011 is going to be an exciting and motivating adventure and I want everyone (including Oprah Winfrey) to be a part of it.  Let me tell you how this brilliant idea came about.

My interest in pursuing a higher education was strictly to acquire a terminal degree that would allow me to teach Interior Design at a university level.  When I was asked what topic was of interest to me, I knew that I wanted it to involve design education, but I had absolutely no idea how to approach it in a visual manner, given that my field is entirely visual.  In an attempt to instigate a thought process, I made a list of everything and anything that came to mind when I thought of design.  There were three underlying themes that seemed to reoccur throughout my list: space planning, education and philanthropy.  The challenge was to unify the three distinct realms into a single unified idea.

It was very important for me to develop a piece of work that would interweave the design community with the outside world.  I didn’t want to lock myself up in the studio and spend sleepless nights trying to meet a deadline but rather, put my heart and soul into something that would make a change in the world.  Project Kenya 2011 will provide me with that opportunity to make a change.

Using my Interior Design education and practical experience, I plan to develop a comprehensive proposal to build a cost-effective and efficient learning environment in an impoverished part of The Republic of Kenya.  My proposal will include site analysis, complete construction documents, material and finish selection, as well as the overall management of the development of a K-12 school.  I plan to utilize local resources in an effort to revitalize the economic and social infrastructure of the community.

This blog will provide you with a detailed account of my thesis process.  This academic year will consist of a lot of preliminary research.  I’ll be initiating a lot of discussions and searching for pro bono talent to assist me in the documentation of my project (graphic designers, film majors, photographers, etc.).  Things will become more tangible after my first trip to Kenya, planned for the summer of 2009.  I will be joining K4K, a charitable Kuwaiti organization, on their annual trip to Kenya in the support and development of education at a primary and secondary level. 

In order to manifest my vision, I will need every one of you to participate in the development of Project Kenya 2011.  Any thoughts, ideas, advice and contributions to the project would be greatly appreciated.