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Cane and Able
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When you think Habitat for Humanity you rarely think innovative, sustainable housing with usage of appropriate materials. Every time I find an affiliate chapter take a new look at housing I have to tip my hat. As many know Habitat, founded by Millard and Linda Fuller, is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. It is reported that the organization is now the largest home builder in the world.

Founded in 1999 HFH Kyrgyzstan turned a new leaf in 2004 when they introduced a new spin on an old approach to building - Cane Reed Houses. These houses are built using local material using reed mats and clay. The material and construction are environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, seismically stable, affordable and fast in erect. By the end of the year they had implemented 9 prototype homes and by 2006, thanks to a $116K grant from the World Bank, were in full swing with a much more robust program.

These modest three room homes can be built from $5,000-$10,000* per house, including a vegetable garden. Homes also include running water, electricity and bathrooms.

"Since 2002, Habitat Kyrgyzstan has researched various construction styles to reduce the cost of the house for poor families," says new project development manager Nurlan Moldosherip. "We decided to pay more attention to cane-reed construction because it was very easy to incorporate into our culture."

We often over look the giants of rebuilding, such as Habitat for Humanity and Oxfam, but every so often a pioneering architect, engineer or project manager raises the bar of how we house those in need. We look forward to seeing this project in the forthcoming Open Architecture Network

More information can be found on the excellent Changemakers website by Ashoka.


* It should be noted that Habitat works through a "sweat equity" program and each family is required to put in 500 hours before receiving a home. Families then pay monthly payments into a no interest mortgage owning the property after 5-30 years.

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Grow your own home! I like it,. I have been dreaming of building me one of those nice straw-bail homes,. here in canada straw is easier to source than cane reeds,. lol is nice to see some forward thinkers in Habitat for Humanity as they are mostly seen building with 'standard' design and construction techniques., afordable and even DIY housing is availible for all of us,. dont support corporate construction! clear-cutting and toxic products for mass produced subsdandard living arangments is a bad deal. Grow your owns!

Posted by: jph wacheski on 6 Dec 06



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