Following on from the catastrophic Hurricane Dorian which ravaged the Bahamas last week, there’s a growing fear that severe weather, brought on by climate change is on the increase. According to press reports in the US, hurricanes are destined to make the affordable housing crisis worse, causing an “urgent housing challenge for the nation”. But isn’t it possible to provide affordable housing at a low cost?
Some years ago, we worked with an entrepreneur to develop his idea for housing built from reused shipping containers. The designs were aimed specifically for countries with poor resources and the design brief stated that the designs should provide areas of shade, solar panel roofing and full height shutters to protect from high winds and flying debris.
Hillside Product Design investigated the practicality of this approach and prepared a series of product concepts based on a modular set of modified shipping containers with pre fitted services which could be configured like building blocks and then cosmetically lined and clad. Careful planning and intelligent use of the space created a number of housing opportunities which were ‘above standard’ when compared to the majority of affordable local housing in hurricane areas.
Comfort and aesthetics don’t need to be compromised in order to create buildings that can withstand storm force winds and hurricanes. There are answers to the problem of affordable housing in hurricane areas and let’s hope that the poor people of the Bahamas get some intelligent support from the rest of the world to rebuild.
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