Living in billboards

2014-07-20 15:00

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It’s the ultimate clash of Street vs Capitalism – building low-income housing from billboards and subsidising the cost with the advertising on its walls. As left-field as it sounds, this could very well be a viable option, writes Naledi Mashishi

Architecture firm DesignDevelop might have envisioned the most creative use of a billboard yet. It is introducing Project Gregory, which aims to address homelessness by turning billboards into small houses – complete with running water and electricity.

It is hoping to introduce the first billboard homes in the Slovakian city of Banska Bystrica soon. From there, it expects to see the design spread throughout the world.

The home is split into two rooms. The first room has an entrance hall, a kitchen area, a desk, a storage area and a raised bed. The second is a bathroom complete with a shower, a toilet and a basin.

DesignDevelop is planning to put the homes close to developed areas so they can be connected to utility systems. But the organisation is considering using technology such as solar panels to keep the homes functioning off the grid.

The costs of the home are expected to be paid for by the income that the billboard receives for advertising.

But developers estimate that while the billboard home will cost R58?185 per year to maintain, the billboards will only be able to fetch R38?550.

This would mean that each home would either have to be paid for by sponsorships or that the residents would have to foot the rest of the bill.

The homes are currently in the concept stage. While it is undeniable Project Gregory could provide a creative solution to homelessness, one can’t quite shake the awkward fact that it would be more than a little ironic to have destitute people living behind adverts for luxury goods and services.

On the other hand, we’re fairly certain the average homeless person will overlook that for a warm place to sleep and a roof over their head.

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