This pop-up house made of recycled materials will last for 30 years and costs less than an iPhone


Attention all you travellers, backpackers, and owners of unused spaces! These innovators have a solution for your woes. An innovation lab from France and a backpackers' hostel in Bengaluru have come together to build an affordable, durable pop-up house. Adaptable, modular, and cost-effective, this recyclable home is the new solution for the exponential increase in demand for urban housing across towns, cities, and suburban areas.

Under SlowTech Innovation Labs, Europe’s largest social tech lab, the Gold of Bengal project, in a collaboration with Cuckoo Hostel, Bengaluru, have built this pop-up house. The pop-up house is made of recycled materials and can be folded and moved. This house is built to last for 30 years, and can be dismantled and set up in any open space. It is designed for underutilised spaces like the garage, garden, rooftop, backyard, or partition roof, and is aimed at promoting affordable housing in cramped urban spaces.

The before and after structures at the Cuckoo hostel, Bangalore

The pop-up house is sustainable, with a rain water harvesting mechanism, the capability to support solar panels, and vertical gardening, according to Rajat Kukreja, Founder of Cuckoo Hostels.

This project is the brainchild of aerospace engineer Sampath Reddy. Founder of Popup Housing, which specialises in low-cost, adaptable housing using sustainable materials, he is an urban systems designer. Sampath, who was inspired by the global tiny house movement, is particularly interested in building modular portable housing on underutilised urban spaces to address problems of homelessness.

From L-R, Marvin Diaz, Sampath Reddy and Rajat Kukreja

The project is inspired by the pop-up villages built in London in 2014 and in Auckland in 2017, to provide emergency housing to 200 people. Pop-up structures can either be erected as standalone units or stacked vertically to provide affordable mass housing.

Speaking to the YourStory team, Rajat shared,

The 8x8-foot frame is made of reused slotted angles. The recycled woodchip board, which acts as the wall, was brought from the scrap market in Bengaluru. The roof is a corrugated metal, and the entire structure holds itself together through nuts and bolts instead of nails. It can be dismantled and customised and dismantled again at every stage.

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