In light of the natural disasters throughout the US and the start of hurricane season, people are thinking about storm shelters as well as emergency housing after natural disasters.  As various organizations plan out emergency housing, two options start to emerge – container emergency housing and modular emergency housing.  Both options have their pros and cons.  Recently, Global Possiblities, a non-profit “committed to educating the public about solutions to our ecological, economic and political crises” posted an article debating the merits of both options.   in the meantime, Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects, a Tokyo-based architectural firm, has created container emergency housing that can transition from temporary to permanent homes and is stackable.

Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects Ex-Container Project, 2 x 20' containers are easy to transport. Image © Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects Ex-Container Project, 2 x 20' containers are easy to transport. Image © Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

In a nutshell, here are the arguments for each side:

Container Emergency Housing

Pros -  Quick to convert to housing as needed -  Cheap to store -  Easy to transport

Cons -  Fixed lengths and widths are less flexible -  Architectural style less mainstream

Modular Emergency Housing

Pros -  Generous room sizes -  More “human-scaled,” meaning more geared toward comfortable living in versus containers which are more transportation-geared. -  Architectural style more mainstream

Cons -  Difficult to transport -  More labor-intensive to build -  Expensive to store

So which is better?  It is hard to say.  What do you think?  What pros and cons are not considered here?

In the aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti, relief organizations started bringing in much-needed supplies.  At that time, there were many organizations trying to figure out how to creating housing out of containers.  While containers are a flexible option perfect for such a project, making it a reality is not always as easy.  However, one group did create a hotel using containers – The Caribbean Lodge in Port-au-Prince.

Recently a friend of Super Cubes was doing relief work in Haiti and stayed at the Caribbean Lodge.  He is also a skilled photographer, so was so kind to bring back pictures of his stay.  The container hotel has single and double rooms which have twin beds or twin bunk-beds and a private bathroom.  Hotel amenities include internet access, a restaurant and swimming pool.

Check out these pictures of a container hotel come to life. Often we talk about the possibilities of container structures, but it is so fun to see one up and running.  As always, click on a picture to make it larger.

Caribbean Lodge in Port-au-Prince is made from containers

Caribbean Lodge in Port-au-Prince is made from containers

Caribbean Lodge

Caribbean Lodge

The hotel and parking lot

The hotel and parking lot

Carbbean Lodge single room

Carbbean Lodge single room

Caribbean Lodge pool area

Caribbean Lodge pool area

Close-up of a container-room

Close-up of a container-room

We have all watched in horror the reports about the earthquake disaster in Haiti.  We all certainly feel helpless in such situations.  Our hearts go out so many people suffering and the enormous task of providing medical and other humanitarian aid to so many people in need.  It can leave us all feeling like there is little we can do to make a difference.  That is where Bright Hope International comes in. Bright Hope International has been committed to helping Haiti over the past 15 years.  When the earthquake hit, they were engaged with their Hope4Haiti program which brings hope to children and families in Pignon, Haiti, by providing food and school supplies as well as microloan and job skills programs.  That was before the earthquake.

Now they are working with their partners in the U.S. and Haiti to send relief supplies to Haiti, including their MedPacks – packages of medical supplies, clothes, blankets food and water.  They are currently filling cargo containers with these supplies and sending them to Haiti.  For more information, please visit their website:  www.BrightHope.org .  If you are in the Chicago area, they have various volunteer opportunities, but they are also seeking donations from across the country.

When disasters like this hit, it is sometimes hard to know how to help out.  Bright Hope International makes it easy to know that you are directly helping people in need. Super Cubes has been lucky to be able to assist this worthy agency in obtaining containers. Your donation can help fill them.


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AuthorSuper Cubes