press & contact
why 1K?

The 1K House is an MIT joint-research initiative started between the Department of Architecture and the Center for Real Estate in 2008. The goal of this research initiative is to harness the intellectual capacity of MIT faculty and students to improve the plight of the world’s poor with respect to their housing needs. The intent of the project was established: how can design work to improve housing condition for the billions of people living in poor rural conditions on less that $1 per day?

The 1K house is aimed at improving the living conditions in these parts of the world where resources are scarce, infrastructure does not exist, and natural disasters often have struck. The highly inadequate living conditions of the poor rural population is a widely prevailing and under addressed issue that could be significantly improved. In other words, we believe design and economic intelligence can help with the solution to the global rural poverty on the housing front.

The initial phase of the 1K House project has recently concluded with the completion of an architectural design studio. This was the first semester of the 1K House project. Thirteen participating students each completed a design proposal. The design and research in these proposals is based on three design principles:

At its current stage, the next step of research is full-scale prototyping. The intent of this prototype is twofold: as a ‘proof of concept’ and as a marketing tool for the $1K House initiative. A team of dedicated students is currently developing plans to construct a number of the $1K House design proposals in numerous locations around the world.

Currently, a joint effort between the Center for Real Estate and the School of Architecture with an architectural design studio in the spring of 2009. In this studio, 13 graduate architecture students are developing proposals along two simultaneous tracks: the design of the architectural unit and the development of a business and financing model to make the project feasible in its intended market(s). The studio is focusing on the market of the Chengdu area of Sichuan Province, China, where housing needs are particularly pressing due to a recent serious earthquake.


prototypes & initiatives