Thinking outside the box
Hong Kong’s skyrocketing property prices have forced tens of thousands of residents into tiny apartments and urban developers are now exploring creative solutions which include converting shipping containers into temporary homes.
In an attempt to ease the housing crisis in the overly crowded city, OPod Tube Housing is a concept which involves transforming concrete water pipes into stackable, low-cost micro homes that can be unlocked through smartphones.
The ‘tubes’ are aimed at young people who are unable to afford private housing in the Hong Kong market and require a short-term home for one or two years. The founder, James Law, proposes that the 2.5 metres wide structures would be easily slotted into the narrow gaps between Hong Kong’s high-rise building.
With each individual unit only weighing around 20 tonnes, it is believed that as many as four could be stacked above one another without any additional support. Units would also be easily relocated by road with the use of a long flatbed trailer.
Each modular micro home will cost approximately £11,000 to be manufactured and could be available to rent for under £300 a month. Today, a one-bedroom apartment in central Hong Kong can come with a hefty price tag of over £1,500.
Despite still only being a concept in its experimental stages, OPod Tube Housing created a prototype which demonstrates exactly how the typical home would look and what facilities would be provided. Within the curved concrete walls, the tubular home would contain all the basic features of a standard home with multi-purpose facilities used to maximise space.
Hong Kong has not been short of innovative housing proposals in recent years. Back in 2014 Hong Kong studio Affect-T offered a series of micro homes made from bamboo, a material which is inexpensive and easy to build with. The idea was that they could be installed inside abandoned factories and vacant industrial buildings.
Although pipes and shipping containers provide short-term arrangements for people who cannot afford the current house prices in Hong Kong, many people remain unconvinced that they can be relied on as a long-term solution to the housing crisis. To put it simply, the government must speed up the construction of affordable public housing to solve the issue in the city.