The firm Garrison Architects in collaboration with New York City recently unveiled the prototype of a modular prefabricated housing system. The structures were developed for quick deployment in the event of another hurricane like Sandy, or other natural disaster. By the looks of it, the houses were also very much inspired by shipping container architecture.
The prefab houses will measure 480-square-feet to 813-square-feet, while the individual units that comprise them measure only 40-feet by 100-feet long. This means that they are small enough to be fitted into relatively small, vacant spaces in the city. Despite their small size, the housing units Garrison envisioned each contain a kitchen, storage area, bathroom and living room, and will be available in 1 or 3 bedroom configurations. The latter are perfect for families and will offer the new inhabitants all the comforts of home. The units are also equipped with an energy efficient ventilation system, which delays the need for air conditioning even during the hot New York summers. The units are also made from recyclable materials, and there is no formaldehyde in the woodwork.
Each unit can also be entirely self-sufficient, which works great in the event of water shortage and power loss following a natural disaster. This can also be considered a plus even when utilities are readily available, since it promotes a more rational use of energy and water.
The architects worked with the New York City Office of Emergency Management in creating the first prototype of these units. The collaboration was a success since they managed to reduce the planning and building time from 2 to 3 years, to 4 to 6 months. All the prefabricated units they created can be deployed and installed within 15 hours. Currently, the city is working on finding sites where these modular homes could be placed in the event of another disaster.
Using actual shipping containers in place of building these modular units, would certainly make these houses even more eco-friendly. However, the units they created are nevertheless very eco-friendly and a great addition to the disaster relief housing options.