James Law Cybertecture has created a project called OPod Tube Housing, which utilizes concrete pipes as small apartments that can be placed into gaps between existing building in Hong Kong. The concrete pipes have a diameter of 2.5 meters and can be transformed into small 9.29 square meter apartments. James Law, the founder of the cybertecture studio, mentions how the target resident would be “young people who can’t afford private housing” and would live in the pipes for only about one to two years. He sees the housing as “an experimental, low-cost, micro-living housing unit to ease Hong Kong’s affordable housing problems”.
The “apartments” would be made out of pods – each from one concrete pipe. From the images found on the Dezeen Website I found the article on, it looks like the pipes could be converted into a living room/office/bedroom pod, a kitchen/closet/storage room, or a bathroom with a shower.
The proposed approximate cost of each apartment would be less than $15,000 to manufacture and would be rented out for about $400 a month. With each pipe only 2.5 meters wide they supposedly can be stacked up in narrow gaps between existing buildings up to four stories high without additional support. However, with support and structure the 20 ton units could make up low rise, modular communities on their own.
While I do agree that using existing materials such as these pipes as housing is an ideal way to conserve materials and energy, the cylindrical shape of the pipes doesn’t lend themselves to maximizing square footage and furniture within the pipes has to be custom made to fit the unique shape. I am also interested in seeing how running water would work within the pods.
Do you think this is a realistic idea for low income, temporary housing within populated cities?