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These Affordable South Korean Homes Don't Skimp on Style

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For the last two years, Seoul-based architecture firm JYA-rchitects has been collaborating with non-profit ChildFund Korea to build a series of affordable homes in the southern provinces of South Korea. Constructed with inexpensive materials like bubble wrap, corrugated steel sheets, and white netting, the four homes they've completed since 2013 reveal different budget-friendly ways to accommodate various low-income families.

Though the finished results look and feel quite different, the architects took a consistent approach to designing them. "The process of thinking of these projects was similar to the way a doctor works," Youmin Won, one member of the team, explains to Dezeen. "It is very simple: diagnose the problems, and find the efficient architectural solution." Here's a closer look at the solutions they came up with, working with a budget in the ballpark of $38,000 (which is the figure reported for the first two houses):

↑ ↓ Low Cost House 1—The first house in the series, a collaboration with Mue & Zijn Architects, is a major renovation of a traditional tile-roofed structure destroyed by a fire. For the family of six, the designers designed a more open-plan space with sliding screens that separate the bedrooms. Since the site is shaded by tall bamboo trees, the designers incorporated triple-layered translucent bubble wrap into the roof as a way to bring daylight into the house.

Here's a video documenting the construction process, including photos of the original fire-damaged structure:

↑ ↓ Low Cost House 2—The designers demolished the original structure to build this bright house composed of three prefab containers. For added insulation and living space, the team added a pitch-roofed structure around the containers for a "house within a house" arrangement. The top of one container serves as an "attic."

↑ ↓ Low Cost House 3 —For this renovation project, the designers added a bathroom and terrace to one end of the existing living room. They also removed the old ceiling to highlight the structure's original timber rafters.

↑ ↓ Low Cost House 4—This was a new-build for a family of five, who, according to Dezeen, used to live in a "plastic greenhouse." The pitched-roof structure features a low-cost timber frame clad with sandwich panels and then corrugated steel sheets. Inside, some walls are exposed oriented strand board, while others are painted white. The team also used white netting to barricade a mezzanine space and the staircase leading up to it.

· JYA-rchitects develops affordable homes for low-income families in South Korea [Dezeen]
· In Mexico, Blocks of Concrete Become Practical Starter Homes [Curbed National]