Web extra: prefab potential
After Hurricane Katrina, Palo Alto, Calif., architect Joseph Bellomo, AIA, and his staff at Bellomo Architects decided to explore the concept of modular emergency housing. They came up with House Arc, a prefab, off-the-grid prototype (see image below). The curvilinear, 250-square-foot unit consists of a plywood substrate on a strong but lightweight steel tube skeleton, and is clad in Western red cedar. According to Bellomo, House Arc has performed “excellently” in tests of its strength versus seismic and wind forces.
For Bellomo, who also is a partner in a company that makes bike racks out of steel tubing, the structure’s value lies in its flexibility and mobility. It can serve as a permanent dwelling, and can be made in larger sizes. Or it can be taken apart and redeployed many times over in emergency situations. “It’s a viable solution for a lot of different kinds of housing,” he says. Although the prototype cost $18,000 to produce, Bellomo says that figure would drop “drastically” if House Arc were manufactured in larger quantities.
The prototype is about to be disassembled and shipped to Hawaii, where it will be re
-assembled atop a concrete foundation in late May. Bellomo hopes that House Arc will be used in Haiti and/or other disaster-struck, warm-climate regions. – meghan drueding
Credit: Courtesy Bellomo Architects, www.bellomoarchitects.com
Bellomo Architects superimposed a photo of the House Arc prototype onto an image of its future site in Hawaii. The 250-square-foot unit is designed to provide natural cooling in warm and tropical climates.
Other Hanley Wood stories on Haiti:
Rebuilding Haiti Will Take More Than Just Money
The Disaster Proof House
A Plan for Haiti