October 2011 Archives

October 22, 2011

The $300 House: One Year Later

$300 House for the Poor

[UPDATE: October 2012 - I'm back to work on the $300 House - Christian]

It's been a little over a year since the $300 House was introduced in this Harvard Business Review blog post

Today, I'm announcing that the project,which took on a life of its own, has been turned over to the folks at Dartmouth (led by Vijay Govindarajan) and the winners of our Open Design Challenge

After dedicating a year of my time to this project, I have decided to return to my family and my "day-job."

Here's a summary of what's happened over the past year, and what happens next: 

After the series of blog posts in Harvard Business Review, the $300 House was featured in stories by the EconomistThe Guardian, Fast CompanyCNNNew York Timesand numerous other media outlets.  VG was invited to discuss the $300 House with the Whitehouse and the World Economic Forum.  He's speaking at TEDx-New York at the beginning of the Year, and the $300 House was nominated as a "breakthrough idea" by Thinkers50.  I had the honor of speaking about the $300 House at The Guardian's Activate conference this past summer.

The buzz created by the idea led to our $300 House Open Design Challenge (hosted by Jovoto.com, and sponsored by Ingersoll Rand). Our Design Challenge winners - six individuals and one corporate team - are participating in prototyping workshops - one held by Mahindra in India and the other hosted by Dartmouth next summer.  After that, the Dartmouth team plans on a pilot project in Haiti.

In the meantime, teams from Dartmouth visited both India and Haiti to learn more about local conditions and make contact with potential communities.  We also conducted a detailed survey with the help of THL which covered 15 rural village communities across India - using an instrument created by VG and myself.

I want to thank everyone involved - especially the advisors, the Design Challenge winners, Shaun at Mutopo, Bastian and Nathalie at Jovoto, and Scott from Ingersoll Rand for their help and advice. Thanks to all of you for the hundreds of suggestions and discussions we've had over the past year - both positive and negative! Special thanks to Harvard Business Review for all their support. And finally, thanks to my wife and kids for their patience and understanding. 

Eric Ho of Architecture Commons  and an Open Design Challenge winner will be leading the team design effort on the $300 House prototyping workshop and the pilot project, working closely with the Dartmouth team. He's a great guy and a brilliant architect. Please join me in wishing him and the rest of the team all the best! 

My one regret: that I could not get past Ted Turner's executive assistant to get him to join the project at the very beginning. 

For further info, contact VG at vg-tuck.com or Eric Ho at Architecture Commons.