Ideal Choice Homes: A Solution To India's Housing Crisis
James Timberlake (KieranTimberlake)


James Timberlake, 2018

©Ed Wheeler

I think the place to begin with the... all the way back in 2004, briefly, Stephen Kieran and myself wrote a book called "Refabricating Architecture" that was widely distributed, and has sold probably about fifty thousand copies around the world. And it was all about re-envisioning the way we think about making buildings and architecture. Principally, a component of that book was to think about off-site manufacturing, or prefab as it was called up until that time. That particular book led us into several initial projects; one was a project called Loblolly House that was built in Maryland in the United States, which was essentially all off-site produced, but flat packed into a series of condensed bundles of material, such that it was not shipping air to a site, and then assembled on-site into the house in a matter of a few weeks. Another house that we did was for the Museum of Modern Art for an exhibit called "Home Delivery" in New York in 2008 called "Cellophane House". And "Cellophane House" not only looked at using a variety of different newer materials, including polycarbonates and aluminum frames, but also chunked the house into specific off-site manufactured pieces. We referred to them as tabletops and a bridge, then assembled into a four storey house. And that house sat on the lot in New York next to the Museum of Modern Art between 53rd and 54th Street for approximately six months for the exhibit, where seven hundred and fifty thousand people moved through the house and saw how this new construction, and this new way of assembling materials and a house could be done. That particular house took six days to assemble, and another fifteen days to finish the kit within the house, and then it was up for six-months, and then it only took us only twenty days to take the house down and put it away. So it was designed... that particular house was designed for disassembly, and it was also designed for a very low carbon footprint. The recyclability, or the recycled content recovery amount of that particular house approached 99% - so it was a very high efficiency house, and was seen by several hundred thousand people.


Design For Ideal Choice Homes/India Concept House By KieranTimberlake, 2011


Shortly thereafter we were approached in India by a venture capitalist and that venture capitalist came to visit KieranTimberlake in December of 2008. The proposition was that in India there was a housing deficit at the time, calculated to be approximately twenty seven million housing units, particularly trying to address the housing for low-income and middle-income individuals in India. It was a proposition that KieranTimberlake just felt very strongly that we should try to help address, and that our off-site manufacturing, mass-customisable strategies of building houses and homes could really rapidly be deployed to address this housing need. And so we began working with this venture capitalist to imagine a house that could pass a whole series of tests in India.

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