Owning a house is a dream of many. Unfortunately for the world’s second most populated country India, a large section of the society lives below the poverty line. Despite being one of the fastest-growing nations, millions of people in India fail to have adequate housing facilities. Besides, dwelling in temporary homes designed out of straws or discarded shipping containers causes residents to relocate and or rebuild their homes. Turning a pipe dream into a home, Perala Manasa shares her project, the journey and more with SURFACES REPORTER (SR).
What started as a prototype has now helped Manasa to bag over 200 orders from a few Indian states such as Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Piping hot idea
This rising issue caught young Perala Manasa’s attention. Coming from a small village of Bommakal in the Karimnagar district of Telangana, the 23-year-old could easily relate to such housing conditions. While pursuing her BTech in Civil Engineering from Lovely Professional University, Manasa moulded her young mind around the world of endless possibilities. With her sheer interest in volunteering for social work, Manasa got familiar with the housing situations of slum areas that were majorly inhabited by migrant workers. Although she noticed the turmoil, she was unable to figure out a solution for this increasing problem. However, just like genius minds, young Manasa had her eureka moment when she noticed homeless people taking shelter in sewage pipes that were placed on the side of the road.
Furthermore, amid the lockdown, she took the unimaginable task in hands of creating houses out of pipes. During her third year of engineering, the idea of creating an affordable housing solution popped into her head and eventually, she started working on it. Her rigorous research made her stumble upon James Law Cybertecture’s OPods in Hong Kong. And from there, an idea turned into reality and lead to the innovation of Manasa’s OPods.
OPod: modern, affordable housing solution
Manasa came across a manufacturer in Telangana’s Siddipet who customized the size of the pipes for her. She procured one lengthy pipe from him for her prototype. She made sure the pipe was tall enough for a person to comfortably stand inside. Despite being cylindrical, OPods cater enough space for a family of three. Spread around 16 ft long and 7 ft tall, the prototype of OPod House comprises a living room, a bathroom, a modular kitchen, a bedroom and a balcony-like lounge area which is installed over the pipe. The kitchen features cupboards and shelves, while the bathroom comprises a western toilet. A foldable dining table is situated in the living area, and the 5x6 ft bedroom can comfortably accommodate a queen-size bed.
The prototype – which is set up at one of her relative’s houses in Chengicherla, Hyderabad – is the first of the 12 designs that Manasa is working on. A regular OPod runs 2000 mm in diameter and can go up to 120 sq ft in area with flat flooring. Depending on the user’s preferences, they can be constructed as 1BHK, 2BHK and 3BHK in 15-20 days. With basic facilities such as electricity, water and drainage, these houses can be built with as little as Rs 3.5-Rs 5.5 lakh. To reflect heat and keep the interiors cool, a coat of white paint runs within the reinforced concrete-made pipe. The pipes can withstand pressure and run a life span of about 1,000 years. Besides, the micro-home can withstand all weather conditions and can be translocated. Holes are drilled to add electricity and water supply cables.
The prototype – which is set up at one of her relative’s houses in Chengicherla, Hyderabad – is the first of the 12 designs that Manasa is working on.
In the pipeline
With the intention of modifying the size of sewage pipes to suit the needs of a family with adequate space for a permanent home, what started as a prototype has now helped Manasa to bag over 200 orders from a few Indian states such as Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Today, Manasa has her startup, which she co-founded with her friend from LPU, called Samnavi Constructions and is looking forward to building and supplying more low-cost homes to governments with regards to affordable housing schemes.
While we dream of owning a home, Manasa dreams of building one. Whether Manasa’s OPods will solve India’s rampant shortage of housing problem is too soon to tell, but when you put your heart and mind to it, nothing is impossible.
Image Courtesy (All images): Samnavi Constructions