OPod Tube Housing by James Law Cybertecture

For the past seven years, Hong Kong has held the title of the world’s priciest city for homebuyers, according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. James Law, a Hong Kong-based architect, thinks his micro-homes could help alleviate the city’s housing crisis. He has developed a prototype for low-cost, stackable micro homes in concrete pipes, which could slot into gaps between city buildings.

Housing shortages are a reality in many parts of the world, but nowhere more so than Hong Kong, where the average one-bedroom apartment downtown rents for $2,100 and many people are forced into cheap black market apartments called coffin cubicles. So there is definitely a market for tiny living spaces.

Called OPod Tube Housing, the project sees 2.5m wide concrete water pipes transformed into 9.29m2 homes, with doors that can be unlocked using smartphones. Studio founder James Law envisions these tubular structures being piled up on top of one another, creating affordable starter homes for young people in vacant city-centre locations across Hong Kong.

The tubes are designed to accommodate one or two people, including a living room with a bench that converts into a bed, a mini-fridge, a bathroom, a shower and storage space for clothes and personal items. A slat timber floor in the bathroom helps with drainage, and an air conditioning unit is provided.

Each OPod will cost around $15,000 (not including the cost of land, presumably) and be used to house people temporarily while they await larger longterm accommodation.