1. Built environment
  2. Architecture & design
January 17, 2018updated 19 Jul 2021 3:45pm

34 reasons concrete tubes are not the solution to the housing crisis

By Jonn Elledge

From everyone’s favourite purveyor of right-wing propaganda and pictures of ladies’ thighs, the Mail Online:

The OPod Tube Housing system aims to re-purpose concrete tubes measuring just over eight feet in diameter, and turn them into ‘micro-homes’ with 100 square feet of living space.

It is the brainchild of architect James Law of James Law Cybertecture who designed the build as a possible solution to the lack of both space and affordable housing in Hong Kong.

The article is headlined:

Is buying a house just a pipe dream? Concrete tubes just over eight feet wide, with a bench that turns into a bed, could be your solution

Okay. No, it absolutely couldn’t be. Here’s why.

1. People don’t want to live in a pipe.

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2. Just because someone is young that doesn’t mean they should be happy to live in left-over industrial equipment.

3. The older generation never expressed any interest in living in pipes that I can recall. What gives them the idea that someone would feel differently, just because they were born after the Berlin Wall fell over?

4. From my experience of the youth, they don’t generally dream of sleeping on a bench that turns into a bed, either.

5. They’d probably prefer, y’know, a bed.

6. Also that looks a lot like a single bed. Are millennials not allowed to have sex now?

7. Are we expecting that the species is literally going to die out because of the housing crisis?

8. At least I’ll be able to say, “I told you so”.

9. Or I would, if I wasn’t dead.

10. “Each OPod is equipped with a living room/bedroom a mini-fridge, a bathroom, a shower and storage space,” we are told, which rather raises the question of where you prepare food.

11. I guess you could steam some vegetables in the shower, but that’s about the limit, isn’t it.

12. While we’re at it, 100 square feet is bloody nothing.

13. That’s 10 feet by 10 feet. That’s a not particularly large room.

14. Except this isn’t even that because, oh look, it’s a bloody pipe.

15. A number of adjectives automatically attach to the word “pipe” in my mind: damp, dank, stinking. Not one of these is an adjective that a normal person would type into the search bar on RightMove.

16. These pipes are only eight feet in diameter. I mean, that’s not much of a room, is it? It’d be like living in a corridor.

17. In fact effectively worse than living in a corridor because you would, in fact, be living in a pipe.

18. Another problem here is that, as I understand it, many millennials are terrified of pipes because of the plot of Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets.

19. Well, I say “many millennials”. I really mean, “One of my colleagues”.

20. But she seemed genuinely traumatised by the idea of living in a pipe.

21. “That’s where the basilisk is,” she said.

22. Also, pipes don’t tessellate.

23. What with being circles, and all.

24. I mean, look at all that wasted space between the pipes.

25. You’d waste space on the inside too, so you don’t even get the whole eight feet.

26. Given that the entire problem here is the scarcity of space to put homes, why on earth would wasting a bunch of space on literally nothing but pipe and the gap between pipes be of any use to anyone?

27. You’re restricted in how long a pipe you use as well, because people in my experience generally like light.

28. This looks like a bloody prison.

29. The problem major cities face in meeting housing demand is not construction cost, but land price. These pipes are solving the wrong problem.

30. Unless the problem they’re meant to solve is “millennials’ well-known fear of corners”.

31. When people push this stuff out, do they genuinely expect applause?

32. “Oh wow, some crumbs from the table!”

33. Isn’t it more likely that young people are going to be genuinely quite offended at the idea their parents’ generation expect them to live in a literal sewer?

34. I hate “visionary” architects.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

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Images courtesy of Opod/James Law Cybertechture.

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