Award-winning initiative turns theory into solution

CHHAT won the 2016 Fuller Challenge because of its ability to address real-life problems surrounding human shelter.

Students at the Vadodara Design Academy in Gujarat, India have won the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s 2016 Fuller Challenge for their initiative that addresses the need for alternative human shelters. Dubbed the Center for Human Habitat and Alternative Technology (CHHAT), the initiative sees students collaboratively turn theoretical design principles into real-life user-friendly, environmentally sensitive, energy efficient, and economically viable structures for human homes.

“CHHAT involves students from each cohort of the five-year program at Vadodara Design Academy, as well as mentors from the academic and professional realm. The student volunteers are the backbone of our projects and the carriers of our ideology,” said Professor Nirav Hirpara, Director of Vadodara Design Academy and CHHAT project lead.

According to a press release by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, the structures are meant to meet immediate needs on the Vadodara Design Academy campus but the students have also extended their design solutions to address the needs in other areas. Specifically, real-life rural, urban, and emergency shelter requirements.

“This student project embodies the integration of anticipatory and participatory design with appropriate technology solutions. CHHAT attempts to find a ‘universal building solution’ while remaining attuned to place-sourced materials. Buckminster Fuller held that 'philosophy, to be effective, must be mechanically applied.' CHHAT provides a compelling demonstration of how students are achieving this in real-world,” BFI Board Chair Dr. David McConville was quoted as saying.