Building housing for a rapidly expanding city can be a nightmare. Ignoring the problem can be even worse. In Batam, Indonesia, architects have come up with a solution to the area’s fast development: a concrete house that can expand over time.
With the “expandable house,” the studio Urban Renewal System has designed a thoughtful approach to low-cost, low-impact building in tropical cities. The houses are like kits. Each comes with what the architects call a “sandwich section,” a roof that can be lifted and a foundation that can support up to three additional floors in case there’s a need to expand.
The architects created the floor plan to allow for joint financing—the developer or city might provide the roof and foundation, while residents cover the cost of infill.
The houses are built to encourage vertical living—instead of spreading outwards, the concrete buildings are stacked upwards to minimize the impact on arable land and to reduce the need for building expensive infrastructure like roads and potable water networks. Every house has decentralized infrastructure, using rainwater harvesting and solar-powered electricity, as well as passive cooling, and sewage tanks.
The architects intend to use the expandable house as a blueprint for other tropical cities that need affordable and thoughtfully-designed housing in limited time.