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Housing Projects

Whether it's prefab or portable, everyone should have a home. Two designs are meeting these needs.


The American dream of owning a house can be so expensive that it remains, for many, just a dream. But two new forms of alternative housing offer solutions to those looking for cheap shelter-or any shelter at all.Claiming a permanent seat on the prefab bandwagon, the home-furnishings store IKEA has created affordable, space-saving houses and apartments. The wooden residences boast multiuse rooms with generously sized windows and high ceilings. The project, called BoKlok, just arrived in the U.K. after a successful Scandinavian test run-and availability in America isn't far behind. The new British homes, made available by Live Smart at Home, start at $160,000 for a one-bedroom flat. Now it's just a matter of trust: Can you buy a house from the people who made the wobbly dresser that fell apart in your dorm room?Some people-namely the homeless-have more pressing concerns than buying a house. But if the New York-based Chilean artist Carolina Pino has her way, they will soon be able to take their shelter with them. Pino's Shellhouse concept is a collapsible, triangular, origami-inspired refuge made of cardboard-durable enough to provide a roof over someone's head and light enough that it can be carried under an arm-with instructions for building a $30 radio transmitter, so transient people can communicate and update others on their locations.SWEDISH Pronounced "boo clock," it means "living smart."LEARN MORE boklok.com; shellhouse.org
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