CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati is working with Indian non-profit organization WeRise to develop Livingboard, the prototype of a portable “motherboard system” to improve housing conditions in rural parts of India. Livingboard encourages an open-source approach to design, allowing people to build their own dwellings on top of a prefabricated core. The first pilot is currently under study for development in the Indian state of Karnataka, near Bangalore.
Livingboard is a flexible “core” system to support the development of housing initiatives in any rural area of the world. This core must be positioned horizontally, constituting the floor of a 12-square meter room (3x4m). It can provide, depending on the geography and infrastructure of the region in question, water storage and distribution, water treatment through filtration, waste management, heating, batteries to accumulate PVgenerated electricity and wi-fi connectivity. Also, from a structural point of view, it provides seismic isolation by separating the building’s superstructure from the substructure.
As Livingboard is compatible with different house designs, locals can build their homes on top of it, selecting from the motherboard’s basic functions and deciding on the housing structure to go around it in accordance with their needs and desires. Livingboard aims to become the focal point of domestic space, around which the house’s inhabitants can gather, cook, wash and read. Today, Livingboard can potentially be carried by helicopters or even drones so as to reach any remote location.
Livingboard revolves around the idea that housing should not be a static unit that is packaged and handed over to people, but rather should be conceived of as an ongoing project wherein the residents are co-creators. In this way, the design is constantly evolving, allowing users to choose the features that work most effectively for them. The pilot currently under development for the Karnataka region aims to respond to the area’s climate and environmental conditions – characterized by a low precipitation rate – by treating and recycling homes’ greywater to irrigate agricultural fields.
The project continues CRA’s ongoing research in India and is strengthened by the collaboration with Italian non-profit organization “Mattone su Mattone,” which since 2009 has been working to guarantee the right for any person to have a home. Previous CRA projects that have touched on this theme in this part of the world include the Pankhasari Retreat, a connected venue for co-living and co-working in the Indian Himalayas, and Sri Lanka Safe(r) House – designed in collaboration with MIT Senseable City Lab – which investigates the development of technological strategies that can guarantee future safety at lower costs. Source and images Courtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati.
Article by Marco Rinaldi