Catastrophe Housing—Containers or Modular?

Following up on a post from yesterday, May 22, about the three-story disaster housing by Garrison Architects New York City has chosen to meet emergency needs, treehugger compares shipping containers to modular housing, much as NYC did. Shipping containers can be easily stored for a dollar a day, stack 16 high, and are made to transport by rail, ship, or truck as part of its wide-ranging support infrastructure. The 480 square foot space lends itself readily to a one bedroom shotgun-style unit—bedroom at one end, living-dining at the other, kitchen and bath in between. Modulars, on the other hand, move by special flatbed, are architecturally more pleasing and more versatile, but are difficult to store in quantity. NYC chose modular, saying shipping containers are too small as a single, but inefficiently wide when two are joined together. While they are tough to store, David Burney, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design & Construction (DDC), suggests they have a “requirement contract” with builders, much like the government did with car manufacturers during WWII—maintain a certain amount of the necessary materials, and when the need arises, drop everything and start cranking out the disaster housing units. MHProNews has learned the DDC already has this agreement with furniture builders. But, shipping containers are easy to mobilize…

(Image credits: Top–Garrison Architects/treehugger–inside of modular emergency housing unit for NYC; bottom, SeaBox/treehugger–shipping container housing)

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