REBUILDING WITH GREEN TECHNOLOGY
-THE AMPHIBIOUS CONTAINER-
Amphibious housing - structures built on land that rise and fall with the water level - is a unique innovative idea.
The inevitable rise in sea level that comes with climate change is going to make it increasingly difficult to control flooding in low-lying lands all around the planet. Architect Richard Moreta from Richard's Architecture + Design had created for Green Container International Aid the “AMPHIBIOUS CONTAINER”, a house that will float in case of floods!
-All Catastrophy (flood, hurricane, earthquake, impact deformation) Solution-
A Solution for Pakistan, an Amphibious Design from Abandoned Transport container Vans used as a potential answer to the lack of housing for the homeless Pakistanis.
The need for speedy provision of housing in case of emergencies was reiterated after the disastrous floods in Pakistan. To address this issue, an international team of designers, headed by Richard Moreta, proposed recycling and adapting “Amphibious Design” shipping containers for temporary living needs by following a simple, inexpensive, and easy to implement design and assembly process.
Reused shipping pallets, recycled construction materials, inner tubes from trucks, and scraps from the structures affected in catastrophes used to construct the sustainable architecture from the “Green Container International Aid”
Richard Moreta is an American architect and his firm called “Richard´s Architecture Design” has offices in Berlin, Mexico City, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai and Santo Domingo. The firm builds on prior extensive experience in using shipping containers for similar purposes in Bosnia (former Yugoslavia) in 2001, as well as Milan and Portenonne (Italy) in 2002 while Mr. Moreta collaborated with the United Nations and the U.S Corps of Engineers, thus making Mr. Moreta a pioneer in this creative use.
Mr. Moreta’s current proposal is based on a new concept of using a steel frame in which containers are inserted through inner tubes from trucks connected to the base of the container to serve as floating device.
A foundation system with 4 metal angular connectors at the corners of the foundation system serve as guiding vertical axes rail for the container that will float and slide up and down based on the water level increase from the flood.
The wood and metal structure in front of the container (porch) will remain under the water level.
Electrical and sanitary waterproof hose flexible extensions will served to cover the 2.5 m of distance differential between the higher and lower water levels.
Mr. Moreta’s unique system makes it ideal for earthquake, hurricane and flood zones given that it is lightweight and structurally sound.
Mr. Moreta’s latest modifications to the system make it meet international standards of sustainable design. As a result of the EU government's initiative to lower the building industry carbon footprint, as well as of international regulations introduced in April 2006, all new commercial buildings must reduce their carbon footprint by 27%. While many projects will strive to meet these criteria, the “Container City” system lends itself perfectly as a cheap way to recycle industrial products and contribute to achieving the carbon footprint goal.
How can “Container Cities” meet these new requirements?
Mr. Moreta proposes the following:
Foundations-specific resistance (existing structure strong yet light)
Noise reduction (construction and rapid site installation)
Natural ventilation (no need for air conditioning)
Photoelectric light-sensitive cells (sensitive to external lighting changes)
Thermal efficiency (use external walkways and lift towers, double thickness insulation and sealed south facing glass units)
Maximize the use of daylight and minimize use of artificial lighting (fully glazed facades). Separate light and heat controls for each unit. Use modular system with a less open plan.
Potential Environmental Features:
Destination of rainwater for reuse in the supply of potable and gray water for later use for irrigation and sanitary.
Bio-climatic technology solutions to make this project zero energy.
Given the current global economic conditions, a significant number of shipping containers are idle. Located in many ports around the globe shipping containers can become a speedy solution to providing emergency shelters and storing international aid.
“Container Cities” offer an alternative solution to traditional living/storage space paradigm. “Container Cities” have significant advantages in short and medium term projects. Sites where such projects are developed in the short term can have Container Cities that can be “unbolted” when their use expires and relatively easily and inexpensively moved or stored to a new location for reuse. So far this alternative method of construction was successfully used to create health and youth centers, classrooms, office spaces, artist studios, living quarters, nurseries and retail spaces.
Containers can be transformed into modern houses that are extensible, modular and comparable in terms of comfort to more expensive traditional developments. Recycling old shipping containers is both a sustainable and economical solution to the growing worldwide need for additional housing.
Originally inspired to meet the emergency housing needs after a major floods in Pakistan, Mr. Moreta sees the “Container Cities” concept strongly matching the current needs of floos in Pakistan. Mr Moreta recently described his concept in Germany media:
"Because shipping containers are in essence a structural shell, they prove to be an excellent solution in seismic, hurricane and now with the amphibious design in flood areas while satisfying the American and international structural code provisions," says architect Moreta. "They have already been used as emergency shelters in some earthquake struck zones”. As the current international effort to help and rebuild Pakistan continues, the ”Amphibious Container” concept offers a speedy and cost effective solution. With a few simple modifications performed in the port of arrival, a storage container can become a temporary housing unit.
Beyond its technical and cost merits, the “Container Cities” system provides an invaluable contribution to a disaster struck community. Using such a system will allow avoiding the displacement of large numbers of disaster affected people - normally a costly and potentially dangerous operation. “People are the backbone of communities, and communities give strength to people” said Mr. Moreta. “To displace people means to dismantle a community, which can lead to negative socio-economic repercussions”.
For more information please visit:
Copyright 2010 GREEN CONTAINER INTERNATIONAL AID. All rights reserved.