The next big thing in tiny housing? Concrete pipes turned into affordable apartments?

Featuring: OPod Tube Housing by James Law Cybertecture When: 15 Jan 2018 Credit: James Law Cybertecture/Cover Images

Could this be the answer to cities' housing crisis – concrete water pipes adapted into snug, affordable apartments?

The OPod Tube Housing system is the brainchild of architect James Law of James Law Cybertecture who designed the build as a possible solution to the chronic overcrowding and lack of space in Hong Kong. With a population of 6,690 people per square kilometer in 2014, Hong Kong has one of the most competitive real estate markets in the world.

Unveiled recently in Hong Kong, the tiny tube houses are created out of repurposed concrete water pipes that measure a little over eight feet in diameter. The tubes are designed to accommodate one or two people and come with approximately 1000 square feet of living space. The interiors are equipped with the standard amenities, including a living room with a bench that converts into a bed, a mini-fridge, a bathroom, a shower and plenty of storage space for clothes and personal items.

According to the architect behind the design, James Law, the inspiration behind the tiny tube homes is practical, both for young people looking for homes as well as city governments trying to provide affordable options. Although the structures are far from being lightweight at 22 tons apiece, they require little in terms of installation and can be easily secured to one another, which reduces installation costs.

The OPod can also be conveniently relocated to different sites. The structure is able to fill the gaps between existing buildings, allowing it to be tucked into locations where traditional construction is not an option.

James Law Cybertecture envisions the OPod being installed in urban areas unsuitable for standard construction, such as narrow alleyways between buildings, for example. Multiple units could be stacked atop each other, with simple metal stairways providing access.

Law explained in an interview with Curbed, that the concept is feasible for any urban environment, “Sometimes there’s some land left over between buildings which are rather narrow so it’s not easy to build a new building. We could put some OPods in there and utilize that land.”

The South China Morning Post reported that each OPod will cost around $15,000 (not including the cost of land). The project appears to still be the prototype stage with no immediate plans to build.

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