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Stackable OPod Tube Tiny Houses Built Using Concrete Water Pipes!

This is the OPod Tube Tiny House by James Law Cybertecture designed and built out of concrete water pipes!

According to Business Insider, they measures just 100 sq. ft. and each tube costs about $15,000. They can be stacked and therefore be used as a temporary housing solution in places like shipyards, under highways, or even in-between buildings.

Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thanks!

Stackable 100 Sq. Ft. OPod Tube Tiny House!

OPod Tube Tiny House 001

Photos © James Law Cybertecture

OPod Tube Tiny House 002

OPod Tube Tiny House 003

OPod Tube Tiny House 004

OPod Tube Tiny House 0010

OPod Tube Tiny House 0011

OPod Tube Tiny House 0012

OPod Tube Tiny House 0013

OPod Tube Tiny House 005

OPod Tube Tiny House 006

OPod Tube Tiny House 007

OPod Tube Tiny House 008

OPod Tube Tiny House 009

Photos © James Law Cybertecture

Highlights

  • Each pipe weighs 22 tons so no bolts are needed for them to stay together when stacked
  • Can be stacked between buildings, under highways, shipyards, etc.
  • Each tube home costs about $15,000
  • Includes sofa that folds out into a bed
  • Shelving
  • Mini refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Bathroom with shower
  • 8.2ft diameter water pipe/tube

Resources

  1. http://www.jameslawcybertecture.com/
  2. http://www.jameslawcybertecture.com/?section=projects&id=1087
  3. http://www.businessinsider.com/hong-kong-housing-water-tubes-james-law-cybertecture-2018-1/

Our big thanks to Bob Jordan for sharing!

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • bruce CG Gallagher January 29, 2018, 2:31 pm
  • Emily January 29, 2018, 2:56 pm

    I think this would be a great solution for working poor and homeless who are trying to better their lives. The only problem for me is they are not bolted down. Even if they are heavy I can see them rolling all over the place in the event of a large earthquake.

    • James D. January 29, 2018, 8:54 pm

      Emily, note the support brackets below it…

  • Dennis Main January 29, 2018, 3:18 pm

    So $30,000 (2 pipes) to live in a cold (I don’t see any insulation), dark (no side windows) sewer pipe?!? Plus the floor space and “roll around” issues mentioned above? I think I’d rather have a wood or metal mini like the ones we see here for $10K and a piece of land with the remaining $20K. These look like as good an idea as radium toothpaste (Germany, 1930’s).

    • James D. February 1, 2018, 8:47 pm

      Concrete provides thermal mass… It’s only cold if you leave it in a cold environment. Otherwise it actually helps equalize the temperature, typically absorbing the heat of the day and radiating it at night.

      There are even LEED certified concrete houses… while the intent here is providing maximum housing density.

      It’s all great if you have plenty of space to spread people out but in a city there’s only vertical space and no place left to spread people out… Only up… Same reason we build skyscrapers… And this lets them be placed in areas that are otherwise dead space, like between buildings, on roof tops, etc.

      Besides, the interiors are being insulated and each unit being provided a Mini-Split for heating and cooling.

      These aren’t meant to compete with houses, more apartment uses but same materials can be scaled to a house, just like container homes…

      While of course other solutions are better for areas away from city environments…

  • Pat January 29, 2018, 3:32 pm

    Brilliant, just need to figure how to get more natural light without compromising structure.

  • Eric January 29, 2018, 4:51 pm

    Why???

    I suppose because someone was using circular reasoning. Therefore one must search also look up reasoning circular.

    Lots of wasted space. Poorly thought out… just because one can is not a reason for actually doing it. Fits right into that category.

    • James D. January 29, 2018, 11:10 pm

      Nope…

    • Rick C January 29, 2018, 11:56 pm

      You ever try to work on a computer that’s that far from where you’re sitting? This is not a complaint about the OPod in particular, but the layout of the couch and tables mean you’ll be sitting on the floor to try to use the computer.

      Again, not specific to the OPod, but the lower pictures, showing the giant impersonal racks, with all-glass faces open to every passerby, strike me as grim. It’s interesting that you see people coming up with “pack ’em in like sardines” stacked tiny housing, but that dystopian literature does the exact same thing–in fact, if you look at the trailer for the coming-soon movie Ready Player One, the main character lives in a camp that’s nothing but single-wide trailers stacked up 5 or 10 high as far as the eye can see. Sounds horrible to me.

      • James D. January 30, 2018, 2:21 pm

        Note how the computer desk is attached to the wall and how it differs from all the other wall mounted shelves… Meaning it’s a movable table…

        The couch also converts into a bed, so it’s a partly transformable space.

        Stacking modules is not a new idea, check out the movie the Fifth Element, for example… It’s one of many ideas to address the eventual over population we’re going to have to deal with unless we either start colonizing other worlds or start implementing strict population control…

        Densely packed cities will be the first to implement these if the trend continues… Already, places like NYC have removed minimum sq ft requirements and now allow apartments under 400 sq ft…

        But small apartments aren’t new to NYC… There are apartments in Manhattan under 200 Sq Ft… Especially, in older parts of the city with buildings that date back over 100 years you can find a lot of places under 300 Sq Ft… But that doesn’t mean they’ll have small prices as everything on Manhattan goes for high prices…

        Even the sub 200 sq ft example has an asking price of $289,000… While renting a sub 400 sq ft apartment in NYC easily goes over $2500 a month…

        While a lot of people sub-let so there are people living with even less space because they’re sub-dividing an apartment…

        So there are worse things than having 100 Sq Ft all to yourself and not have to share it…

  • Bigfoot January 29, 2018, 5:17 pm

    100 sq ft rounded over? If these are cradled like is depicted in the one picture I can see where they could just lay there being 44,000 lbs of concrete. So the water lines, sewer lines??, electrical lines are attached how? HVAC system? I realize this is a prototype concept but wow, I couldn’t imagine trying to live in a tiny tube. I guess they must really be desperate over in Hong Kong to think this would fly. I really dislike this.

    • Tom Osterdock January 29, 2018, 9:49 pm

      Some of the apartments there are the same size. Millions of people in a very small space. It is not the United States. The UN wants us to do the same thing as them. I like being smaller than what we are used to but not that small as the norm. For some it would be great and I could see having stairs in the back going to the next level for more space.

    • James D. January 29, 2018, 10:40 pm

      Hey Bigfoot, how’s it going?

      I think you’re experiencing some culture shock… Small spaces is only unusual in mostly western nations and even then only for less than 75 years and mainly in nations like the US, Australia, and Canada…

      The average size of a new house in Hong Kong is only 45 m2 (484 Sq Ft)… So 100 Sq Ft isn’t that small compared to what they’re used to… It’s basically an apartment…

      Besides, compared to alternatives like living out of a car or van that’s pretty luxurious… It’s even huge compared to Japan’s Capsule hotel units…

      For utilities, same way as anything modular… There will be hook up ports built in and they’ll run lines to each one.

      Even in the states some people are using these for bunkers and emergency underground shelters… Or even root cellars…

      • Bigfoot January 30, 2018, 6:15 pm

        Hi James, It hasn’t been going good at all but I’ll spare details.

        Zero culture shock here! Heck, half the worlds population of families live in a tiny shack or shanty. I’m well aware of how many other people live around the world but I haven’t seen any peoples living en mass in 8′ pipes . I feel blessed! However— This tube is just a poor idea to me. To be useful, the tube would have to have a much greater diameter allowing for the installation of a bigger flat floor. I could only imagine trying to do a stretching or yoga routine in this 8′ tube. I’m 6’4″ and with the small chunk of flat floor that’s in there I doubt I could raise my arms up without scraping the ceiling. Yah, a new kinda knuckle dragger.

        Lets examine some stats. We have about 11 cubic yards of concrete. (44,000 lbs. divided by approximately 4,000 pounds per cubic yard) that has been used in this pipe. One cubic yard will cover about 80 sq. ft. at 4″ thick, so we are using up enough concrete to cover 88o sq. at 4″ thick. You could build a 12’x12′ concrete box (tiny house?) with 8′ high walls including a concrete floor and sloped concrete roof with a similar amount of concrete as what is used in this sewer pipe and all the walls/floor/& ceiling would be 4″ thick. The cube would have 1,152 cubic feet of usable capacity. To me, the tube wastes a great deal of materials/resources that could be utilized in a much more efficient manner. You could also use forms/steel/and shot-crete and build a structure as well with the same material.

        I would much prefer to live out of a high top full size van than this tube any day!
        Yes, the units can be set up with utility ports but a separate infrastructure would have to be built to handle multi stack units = more $$. I still question the HVAC for these units.
        Attaching things to concrete is fun? Think of the large crane needed to set these and also realize they need a base to sit on capable of handling 44,000 lbs., all extra $$.
        I think I’ll pass.

        • James D. January 30, 2018, 7:33 pm

          Hey Bigfoot, good points but as I pointed out to Jo a square design could not be stacked as high or as densely, which seems to be the reason they’re going with these.

          While the square designs would still need those same supports but even more so because the structural stresses would be more focused and thus need even thicker support materials to handle it all.

          The square design would just be preferable for interior space but these have to be stack-able and have room for the support infrastructure that will have to go around them.

          Mind again, we’re talking about a place that’s used to 45 m2 (484 Sq Ft) for the average new House… This compares to the nearly 5 times greater average that is the average norm for Americans… The Average person in Hong Kong lives their whole lives in less than a third of the space people in American and Australia average…

          While no one said this should be for everyone, but there are people and cultures in the world that 100 Sq Ft for one person is actually a lot by their standards and many of them just prioritize their time for outside of the house instead of in them.

          One of the reasons I thought your reaction might have been from culture shock is because I know that according to a study done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 87% of their life indoors, then another 6% of their life in automobiles. That’s only 7% of your entire life outdoors.

          Versus other cultures that tend to spend upwards to over 30% to even over 50% of their life outdoors…

          So a big difference in how people view homes can simply come down to how much time they spend in them on average… The more time spent indoors then the more likely someone is not to understand how someone else can live with less than they are used to…

          This difference is one of the reasons why even people in the states can enjoy living in something as small as a Van because the life they lead is not limited to its confines and there’s nothing bigger than the world for elbow room…

      • Bigfoot January 31, 2018, 6:22 pm

        James, responding to your answer below. – I’m not an engineer and don’t have the expertise to say one way or another about the loads incurred by stacking 22 ton tubes or lighter square/rectangular blocks so I’ll leave that for a pro as there are so many variables and no way to compare apples to apples without specific detail.

        I get your point regarding typical western views but I’m not and never have been in that 87% that spend most of their time indoors. I grew up playing in the woods, spent a lot of time in early adulthood in the woods, rivers, springs, and beaches of Florida, had a biz for 20 years working outside in construction, owned a small plant nursery, avid gardener, have almost always worked outdoors, and currently work outside on a 600 acre spread that’s mostly native woods. You gave a good explanation regarding why people think one way or another regarding living space.

        I need more space for my tools, hobbies, and projects than I do for actual living space. Currently live in less than 700 sq ft with my wife and 2 dogs.

        • James D. January 31, 2018, 6:57 pm

          Hey Bigfoot, I totally get it… Personally, very envious of guys like Jimmy DiResta who can have a whole building dedicated to a workshop… Never seems to be enough space for work and hobbies…

          Anyway, on an unrelated note, some previous discussions you’ve missed have gone over what may be needed to tow a Tiny House on wheels and how easy/hard it may be… So was wondering what’s your opinion on houses that weigh over 16,000 pounds to 20,000 range? 2017/2018 model 1 Ton dually enough or bigger needed?

        • Bigfoot January 31, 2018, 8:27 pm

          Yah, for me personally I could settle for a bed/bath room and small kitchen inside a big shop. I’m not happy unless I’m creating something. Last year I was building a small travel trailer for a first build. Had about 85% of the welding complete and frame nearly built and then had a tragic death in the family so everything went to a holding pattern. Hopefully be able to get back on to it in near future.

          Good question regarding towing in the 16K to 20K trailer range. I owned Dodge 1 tons (Cummins diesel) and single axle dumps. I towed goosenecks with the Dodge’s and tag trailers with the dumps (C-60’s). For 5+ years I towed a 24′ tri axle goose neck with my personal 1995 Dodge 1 ton. Trailer had 7K axles and electric brakes on all 3 axles. Loaded, I was hauling 16K-17K daily. This is about as much as I’d want to haul on a regular basis with a 1 ton and 3 brake axles is mandatory IMO but 20K would be OK if using 3-8K axles, brakes on all axles, and F rated tires on the trailer. Your basically maxing out with 20K and 3-7K axles. I did get by with E rated tires as the truck is handling a fairly heavy hitch load with the goose neck setup. The newer 1 tons have more torque than what I had so I don’t see any problems towing 16K with a properly set up gooseneck. For the uninitiated there is a learning curve. My rig served me well!
          When we get up to 20K it’s almost another realm (for tag trailers). I don’t think I’ve seen single axles rated higher than 8K so your maxed out with a tri-axle at 24K total trailer and load. All the modern 1 tons will tow around 20K for a tag trailer and much higher for a gooseneck/5th wheel . If you ran 3-8K axles with load range F tires on the trailer you could safely tow 20K with a modern 1 ton (be about 3.8K under max capacity).

          Personally, I would not want to pull 20K on a tag trailer with a 1 ton as you are maxing the truck out. I towed a tag trailer that was 15K-16K loaded with my C60’s. The trucks weighed about 13K and had a GVWR of 26K and I really wouldn’t relish the thought of towing a tag at 20K with this, though it could. Goosenecks and 5th wheels are just so much nicer to tow 20K with than the same 20K in a tag trailer as you are distributing some of the load weight to the front. Much easier to back and you can jackknife the heck out of a gooseneck if your trying to back out/turn around in a sticky situation (not uncommon occurrence on construction sites). Not sure the size plate most people use to mount the gooseneck ball but I had a 1″ steel plate welded between the frame rails on my 1 tons and mounted the balls about 6″ in front of the rear axle centerline.

          That about sums up my experiences with towing. Hope this helps somebody -_-

        • James D. February 1, 2018, 2:27 pm

          Thank you Bigfoot, that information should be very helpful for future discussions as the topic comes up with some of the bigger size THOWs…

          Your project reminds me of one I’m following on youtube on the “ItsBenModified” channel… He’s building a custom camper/Tiny House… Everything from the trailer chassis on up… Video posts are mixed in with his other projects but maybe check it out for some inspiration to get you back on your project…

        • Bigfoot February 1, 2018, 6:42 pm

          You are welcome sir. Thanks for the ben modified link. I briefly checked it out, lot of cool stuff. I enjoy watching people create/modify stuff. As far as inspiration I generally stay inspired most of the time. Just have many family members that need help so, priorities.
          When you build something from scratch there is such a huge number of considerations. I’ll give you a run down on my plans sometime. Frame design has been done but I’m still playing with and drawing out different floor plans and elevations.
          Enjoy the day!

  • David S Laker January 29, 2018, 6:37 pm

    If you’re determined to use an expensive piece of precast concrete, why not use a square section? or:
    if really determined to use circular sections, stack them like a lighthouse and use a fiber reinforced plastic at a fraction of the cost.
    I see little or no advantage with the concept.

  • Alison January 29, 2018, 7:55 pm

    If I had to live under a bridge, I’d rather live in one of these than in cardboard box. But the stacking idea seems fraught with expense and safety issues. I wonder what kind of insulating value the concrete pipes have. It is an interesting concept, but I’m skeptical about it actually being practical.

    • James D. January 29, 2018, 10:51 pm

      Concrete provides thermal mass…

      • Dennis Main February 1, 2018, 9:24 pm

        Thermal mass can be helpful. I’ve been in an adobe with 4′ thick walls (Sutter’s fort)and it was much warmer than outside. Here in Sacramento (we’re the nice weather in the country now) it was 70 this afternoon, and 38 last night. In my house (glorified insulated plywood box – low thermal mass) I was able to keep it closed up until afternoon, then let in that delightful 70 degrees. A high mass concrete house would be about 54 (average between 70 and 38) instead of the 68 it is, with now added heat. Sometimes it’s to our advantage to control the flow of btu’s.

  • Debz January 29, 2018, 9:36 pm

    Reminds me of Japanese “capsule” hotels.

  • Jo January 29, 2018, 11:47 pm

    Looks very nice, but I feel it is very inefficient. There are “square” or “rectangular” -shaped tubes that can be used which would be considerably more efficient. Though as emergency shelter space that can offer privacy and independence, this could be an option as opposed to “single-room-occupancy” with shared bathrooms. Or as youth hostels. Something like this should never be considered permanent housing options for individuals. It should be more of a transition from homelessness until permanent housing is found.

    • James D. January 30, 2018, 1:30 pm

      If interior space was the only thing that mattered then you would be right but in terms of exterior space the tube shape is more efficient than a square or rectangle because it allows these to be more densely packed together and the tube shape is structurally stronger and thus these can be stacked higher.

      In a rounded or circular structure the stresses are spread across the structure… A square or rectangular structure allows the stresses to be focused to one part of the structure and thus increase the chance of failure.

      While the permanent housing in Hong Kong isn’t much bigger with an average of 45 m2 (484 Sq Ft) and that’s for families sharing the space… What is deemed enough space actually differs all over the world and by what is considered normal in each culture, along with what percentage of one’s life you spend in the house vs outdoors.

      Even people in American can fall under a wide spectrum of what they consider enough space… Some may consider even a 2000 Sq Ft space too small for even one person to another person finding anything bigger than a van, which is typically smaller than 60 sq ft, is too big for them to give some idea of how wide that spectrum can be…

      For yet others it may matter more the lifestyle they lead than what they live in or what someone lives in may be the only thing they care about…

      While the average size house in America can be easily 7-8 times bigger than the average size in many non-western nations.

      So we have to be careful when putting out blanket standards that we expect everyone to follow as there will always be a portion of the population that won’t conform to those standards, especially when including people from other parts of the world…

      We also have to be careful to take into account the actual practical considerations… Hong Kong is an island with over 7.4 million people and you can’t give people more space than there already is to provide… Space for a growing population in an already densely packed area has to be found one way or another…

  • Alex January 29, 2018, 11:49 pm

    Our county wants to construct a 100 unit building for homeless men for $26 million. Stacking 100 of these would be less than 1/15th the cost and can be built in less than 1/4 of the time. Win – win.

  • vivian January 30, 2018, 4:46 pm

    Having been homeless, this would have been an attractive alternative, especially in unpleasant weather and having no other options. However, even homeless have…stuff. Storage, even for a couple of pots, pans, dishes…food would be needed. So, I’m not a fan of the design

    Right now I’m in a 350 sq ft apartment and am really very happy at that size. I know a lot of people around the world live much smaller that we do. But, psychologically speaking, we haven’t (needed) to evolve to that way of thinking yet. IMHO, culturally speaking, we don’t tend to do well in mass housing projects. Lots of people crammed into tiny spaces which are crammed together has a history of going wrong. That is, if you are talking about housing for poor and/or homeless.

    Visually, from the outside, it looks interesting. Except for the part where you see the scaffolding and stairs. I wouldn’t want to look at that as my only view…but your only alternative would be to have an entrance through the bathroom.

    Other designs may not be my style, but I think this is the first design if really dislike. It may work for temporary housing, like with students, or transitional housing to get people on their feet, but that’s it.

    • James D. January 31, 2018, 7:52 pm

      Sometimes it just comes down to how much imagination you have for potential applications…

      Concrete tubes like these can be from surpluses made for tunnel projects, etc.

      So can fit into a form of recycling, along with containers… Meaning you can mix and match them to create a variety of structures up to big houses.

      Like the tube can be a bedroom and the container the main section of the house.

      Alternatively, you can connect multiple of these tubes because they are designed to create networks of tunnels. So can have tubes that lead into each other to create bigger spaces… Just like mix and matching containers…

      The tubes don’t even have to be of the same size as they make these from small pipes up to tunnel sizes big enough to move trains and cars through…

      Plenty of potential uses, like that Tube hotel in Mexico or a outdoor restaurant that uses the tubes for dining booths… Integrated into gardens for sheltered areas to view the garden but still be outdoors… To the emergency bunkers some people use them for in places that have to deal with things like Tornadoes… To root cellars… Placed vertically they can be used to form spiral stair cases… and many more…

      Ideas are often not as rigid or inflexible as they may first appear…

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