Revisiting Core Housing through Generative Design and Mass Customization an Alternative Housing Delivery Option for Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Core housing (CH) is one of the self-help incremental housing strategies in which the government provides an initial starter structure and then the resident takeover to achieve full housing incrementally. Around the 1960s, following the critical challenges faced by third-world governments to deliver full modern housing, a self-help incremental housing delivery option has been proposed and implemented in many countries, including Ethiopia. Regardless of some limitations, various studies and cases worldwide indicate that CH strategies have advantages in alleviating housing shortages by combining governments effort with residents’ self-help housing potential. However, the conventional CH strategy lacks density, standardization, and scalability. The need for standardized speed of delivery on one hand and flexibility to accommodate owners’ participation on the other poses is a unique challenge that requires an innovative design and construction delivery strategy. Generative Design (GD) uses the principles of nature’s evolutionary approach to design. It starts with design goals and then explores the design solution space to generate optimized design solutions through selection, crossover, and mutation. On the other hand, Mass Customization (MC) combines two counteracting theories of mass production and customization to minimize cost and, at the same time, meet individual needs. This study explores the potential use of GD and MC to upgrade CH strategy. To achieve the study’s objective, GD methodology, which comprises three basic steps, is employed. The first step involves analyzing secondary data and contextual reviews to identify and define critical computable parameters of CH. In the second step, parametric models are developed based on a multistory vertical expansion CH typology using Grasshopper in the Rhino 3D environment for the starter structure and unit expansion stages of CH. In the third step, an evolutionary algorithm engine ‘Wallacei’ is used to generate, evaluate, and select design options. Furthermore, a case project is developed to demonstrate the result of the experiment on a selected site in the inner city of Addis Ababa. The GD experiments’ result indicates the potential use of MC and GD to create a CH strategy that is flexible to accommodate owners' participation and mass-producible for speed of delivery. However, certain limitations are encountered in using an evolutionary solver in optimizing topological constraints for space layout generation during the unit expansion stage. Thus, there is room for further development of this study and potential application strategies. Nonetheless, this study’s overall outcome indicated GD and MC’s potential use in enhancing CH and its potential implementation as an alternative housing delivery strategy for Addis Ababa



Revisiting Core, Housing through, Mass Customization