Innovation That Matters


Tiny home fits inside a water pipe


A new tiny home has been designed to fit inside a concrete water pipe and can be stacked almost anywhere.

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According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong ranks as the world’s least affordable city for homebuyers. James Law, a Hong Kong-based architect, thinks he may have come up with a solution. He has designed a miniature home that fits inside a concrete water pipe. Called the OPod, the tiny tube home measures just 9.2 square metres (100 square feet) – about half the size of a single car garage. Other recent tiny home designs have included a mobile holiday cottage and a tiny travelling bookstore. But this is one of the first designed to take advantage of wasted urban spaces.

The OPod includes a folding bench that doubles as a bed and a tiled bathroom screened off at the back. The front of the tube doubles as both a door and a window and can be opened with a smartphone. Because each OPod is only 2.5 metres wide, they can fit into otherwise wasted space, such as narrow gaps between buildings, in commercial areas like shipyards, or under bridges. Law says that the tubes can be stacked up to four pods high with any additional supports. The tubes can be lifted into place with a crane and transported on a flatbed trailer.

Law does envisions the Opod as a temporary solution only. He feels that young people might choose to live in an Opod for one or two years, while saving money to rent or buy more spacious accommodation. Each micro-home costs around 11,000 GBP to manufacture. Law suggests that each one could rent for around 300 GBP a month. This is compared to rents of 1,500 GBP a month for an average one-bedroom apartment. The Opod is just a prototype for now, but Law is currently seeking planning permission to begin installing and renting out the micro-homes. Will the OPod help allieviate Hong Kong’s housing shortage?




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