Last Saturday, a prototype for emergency living quarters was unveiled. The experimental post-disaster housing module stacks five steel units on top of each other like Lego pieces to create accommodations that are more comfortable than your rotting, soggy home after Superstorm Sandy.
The project has been in the works for six years now. The NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the Army Corps of Engineers all came together to help create the prototype.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:
The prototype includes a living area, bedrooms, bathroom, fully-equipped kitchen and storage areas, but the configuration is flexible, said project architect Jim Garrison, a professor at Pratt and principal of Garrison Architects.
The next step, Garrison said, is to connect the prototype to city utilities and then test it out with human guinea pigs.
“The idea is, try it out, solve all the problems, and then you’re ready to build quickly when the time comes,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.
The project was run by Housing Recovery Program Manager at OEM Cynthia Barton. The housing project has been in the works since 2008, when Barton brainstormed the “What If New York City…” design competition.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
The 12’ by 40’ units are a far cry from poorly insulated FEMA trailers, and can fit more people onto the available land. They are cool in the summer and warm in the winter, Garrison said. The balconies keep the sun from shining directly into the interior, and the insulation keeps the heat and AC from escaping.
And as the Daily Mail reported, the Lego-style homes will be the the nation’s first “urban post disaster prototype.” Three of these houses have been erected in Downtown Brooklyn and they will stay up for a year, during which time volunteer students from NYU-Poly will live in them to see how they fare.
It actually looks pretty cozy. I wonder if maybe we can solve New York City’s affordable housing crisis with these. They’ve even got balconies!
Here are some photos of the units and the construction process, released by OEM via Facebook: