Would You Live Inside This 9sqm Water Pipe?
This modern designer studio unit (inside a water pipe!) in Hong Kong may be the home of the future
Four years ago, Bloomberg predicted Hong Kong to be the most densely populated city in 2025, according to this article—with an approximate 76,985 population per square mile by that date.
As early as now, Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities to live in, with a 40sqm flat in North Point selling as high as HK$17 million, or approximately P113 million pesos, according to the South China Morning Post. With the soaring prices of real estate, middle- to lower-income residents are now settling with increasingly smaller apartments, oftentimes in squalid conditions.
Now Hong Kong-based architect James Law of James Law Cybertecture (above) believes the solution to this housing crisis is a micro-home called an OPod—specifically, a micro-home inside a concrete water pipe (see below), the same one used for street drainage.
Yes, you heard that right. According to the architect’s website, “OPod Tube Housing is an experimental, low cost, micro living housing unit to ease Hong Kong’s affordable housing problems.” The OPod will cost approximately US$15,000 each (that’s about HK$117,659 or around PhP781,381) to build. It isn’t cheap, but it isn’t expensive in a city where it costs millions to buy a shoebox-sized condo.
The architect built a prototype to show how efficient and beautiful the design is, in spite of it being in a water pipe. Let’s take a tour:
It’s only 9sqm in floor area.
The OPod is 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) wide, and the entire area measures 100 square feet, or approximately 9 square meters. If you think this is too small, take note that a Nano flat in Hong Kong measures 152 square feet and costs as much as HK$3.27 million!
But, it’s got everything.
Like any typical studio unit, the OPod has a living/sleeping area with modular shelves to serve as entertainment center/home office/storage, and a built-in sofa that folds out to become a bed. Round, glazed glass panel doors let in natural light and views.
On the opposite end of the OPod, you can find a full dressing area (yes, you’ll need a minimalist wardrobe here), and a kitchenette with personal ref and microwave oven.
It even has its own spacious bathroom.
There is a full working bathroom of the rear of the OPod with a shower and toilet. By the way, the front and rear doors can be accessed by your smartphone, giving you extra security.
It could be stacked in tight spaces to form a building.
Another unique feature of the OPod is that it could be stacked one on top of the other to form a low-rise apartment building. And because of its tiny size, these micro apartments can be squeezed into tiny spaces in between other buildings (see above), helping to ease the housing problem.
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