Livingboard - A Motherboard for Instant Open-Source Housing

Livingboard: A Motherboard for Instant Open-Source Housing

Carlo Ratti Associati and Indian non-profit organization WeRise have unveiled Livingboard, a low-cost system for housing in rural communities. Livingboard provides access to basic services - from electricity to water treatment - while encouraging an open-source approach to design, allowing people to build their own dwellings. The first pilot is currently under study for development in the Indian state of Karnataka, near Bangalore.

Livingboard is a flexible 'core' system to be positioned horizontally inside a house, constituting the floor of a 12-square meter room (3x4m). It can provide, depending on the geography and infrastructure of the region in question, water storage and distribution, water treatment through filtration, waste management, heating, batteries to accumulate PV-generated electricity and wi-fi connectivity. Also, from a structural point of view, it provides seismic isolation by separating the building's superstructure from the substructure.

As Livingboard is compatible with different house designs, locals can build their homes on top of it, selecting from the motherboard's basic functions and deciding on the housing structure to go around it in accordance with their needs and desires. Made of low-cost materials that can be flat-packed, Livingboard pays homage to 20th-century US inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller and his dream of 'air-deliverable buildings.'

"The Maker movement has shown how empowering it is to put the new fabrication tools in the hands of people," said Professor Carlo Ratti, founder of CRA practice and Director of the Senseable City Lab at MIT. "An important challenge for the next years will be to apply the same principle to construction - transferring the DIY attitude of Fab Labs to housing. This is the vision behind our design for Livingboard."

Images: Courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati

Carlo Ratti Associati