Butterfly Housing redefines sustainable living

butterfly housing

Inadequate housing is one of the biggest issues for developing nations across the globe. But it is also a challenge in cities that have seen exponential growth result in housing shortages. This rapid urbanisation leads to either large-scale developments of endless rows of identical houses or to the spontaneous growth of shantytowns, both of which are undesirable and unsustainable in the long run.

With a new approach to sustainable living, Butterfly Housing is an initiative that may offer a solution. Combining cost effectiveness with adaptable design, it provides the opportunity to erect affordable houses that can be adjusted to living conditions.

By blending the advantages of prefab steel constructions with a modular design concept, these houses are perfectly applicable in large scale development projects, while maintaining an element of individuality. Each Butterfly House is based on a strict modular grid, but allows for a large measure of customisation. Starting with the basic house, it provides comfortable family space including indoor and outdoor living areas.

This core house can be altered horizontally and vertically through modular extensions in response to its users needs. In this way, the house can be customised according to the specific needs of the site, target market and owner. The Butterfly Housing principle can thus be applied to a number of communities and countries.

Butterfly Housing is a Dutch concept, co-founded by Frederik Groos and Robert van Katz. They are currently developing projects and research initiatives in South Africa and Africa. Specifically, in South Africa’s Cape Flats in Cape Town and Stanford in the Western Cape Provence. The design is also part of the Unity Housing Project in Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria.

Considering the need for a solution to housing shortages, and the need for environmental sustainability and upholding individuality in living circumstances, Butterfly Housing can be a valuable urban tool. It furthermore contributes to local economy by producing the elements locally that can be quickly delivered and adjusted to the needs of the local population.

As a World Design Capital 2014 project, Butterfly Housing aims to integrate engineering and design, increasing the awareness of design capabilities and individual expression in affordable housing.

Discover how design thinking and innovation through South African and Dutch collaboration can transform at Department of Design from 8 to 26 July.

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