Hong Kong’s shortage of affordable housing leaves residents with few options. Those who can afford it can pay well over $2,000 a month for a tiny one-bedroom apartment. Those who can’t afford that may have to turn to cheap black market rooms known as “Coffin Cubicles.” Local practice James Law Cybertecture has proposed a third option: affordable microhousing by repurposing water pipes.
The “OPod Tube House” concept, says the firm, “is an experimental, low cost, microhousing unit to ease Hong Kong’s affordable housing problems.”
“Constructed out of low cost and readily available 2.5m diameter concrete water pipe, the design ultilizes the strong concrete structure to house a mico-living apartment for one/two persons with fully kitted out living, cooking and bathroom spaces inside 100 square feet.”
Opod Tube House’s small footprint allows them to fit in vacant lots for quick and agile housing solutions or in the unused spaces in-between and behind buildings or in alleyways. The houses can be stacked to become a muli-unit housing complex and modular community in a short time and for a fraction of traditional housing development costs.
Each unit uses the latest micro-housing design innovations, with a foldable bench that doubles as a bed, spaces for a mini-fridge and microwave, and a bathroom at the rear. The firm estimates that each OPod Tube House can be built for approximately $15,000 and rented out for about $400 a month.
In a city that already leads the way in innovative multi-functioning infrastructure, the Opod Tube House moves the bar even higher.
While a city like Portland, Oregon finds its own new use for city water infrastructure, Hong Kong offers an intriguing idea by repurposing water pipes in true Reprogramming the City fashion: using the assets it has to address its needs.
For 44 of the most innovative urban repurposing projects from 17 countries check out the Reprogramming the City book.