The Opod tube house design created by James Law Cybertecture. Image via James Law Cybertecture

OPod: Concrete pipe micro-apartment in Hong Kong

Living in cramped apartments isn’t meant for everyone. For the residents of Hong Kong, they have no choice but to live with it. Local architectural firm James Law Cybertecture came up with a prototype for low-cost micro-homes made with concrete pipes to help the city’s residents cope with rising real estate cost.

The illustration shows the tube homes in between of high rise buildings. Image via James Law Cybertecture
The illustration shows the tube homes in between of high rise buildings. Image via James Law Cybertecture

The architect squeezed ‘OPod tube homes’ in the gaps between high rise buildings.

Each home has 100 square feet of living space. It would cover basic living, cooking, and bathing. The apartment’s exterior is an 8 feet long (2.5-meter) water pipe. A single pod can house from one to two occupants.

It has a single entry panel at the front provides a large window that offers natural lighting to the apartment.

The overview of the pipe house. Image via James Law Cybertecture

Inside the home, it uses lighting strips under the shelves to provide additional lighting. The wooden floor allowing with warm lighting creates a homey atmosphere.

The living area has a bench seat that could be folded down to a bed to provide additional sleeping space for guests.

The founder of the company, James Law started the experimental project to solve Hong Kong’s ongoing affordable housing problems.

An example of an cubicle apartment in Hong Kong. Image via Edward Wong/SCMP
An example of a cubicle apartment in Hong Kong. Image via Edward Wong/SCMP

In a highly dense city like Hong Kong, claustrophobia remains one of the top concerns. The current population of Hong Kong stands at an estimated 7.5 million people, according to Worldometers. Many families struggle to find affordable housing, often having to adapt to homes smaller than prison cells.

A study by Civic Exchange finds that the average open space available to every Hong Kong citizen is about two square meters, roughly the size of a coffin or a small toilet cubicle.

The bathroom compartment of the micro home has a shower and toilet. Image via James Law Cybertecture
The bathroom compartment of the micro home has a shower and toilet. Image via James Law Cybertecture

OPod isn’t a perfect solution, but it can provide basic needs like space for a mini-fridge, a microwave, and railings to hang clothes.

The bathroom is situated at the rear end of the pipe.

OPod tube houses can easily shift its pipe location to different sites of the city. Image via James Law Cybertecture
OPod tube houses can easily shift pipe location to different sites of the city. Image via James Law Cybertecture

Law estimates that the micro apartment takes around $15,000 to build. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in central Hong Kong is currently over $2000. Law believes the micro-home concept would appeal to the younger generation who cannot afford private housing.

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