Not only Rotterdam enjoys recycling cargo containers for affordable housing. In Hainan island, China, a factory has also reused them for their workers’ dormitory. But instead of using fancy eclectic finishings, actual dwellers do welcome the factory owner’s initiative of giving them a traditional touch of the Anhui Province style: courtyard, veranda and front walls.
Features teleported from the original Ming Dinasty white wooden villas dating at least 500 years old. Like in the most pure Roman Empire style, these ancient dwellings also had all their chambers looking onto the courtyard and its pond. The richer the family, the more amount of patios. But most surprising were their low-tech systems. Apart from the smart way of natural ventilation through underground channels (open in summer and closed in winter), my favourite are the fire protection devices. They consist of one cubic metre of sand, stored above every door threshold; whenever any flames would start destroying the wood, the sand falls down and avoids the fire spreading from one room to the next one.
Unfortunately, still too much high-tech for low-cost contemporary housing.
[images 1-4> cargo containers adapted as Anhui traditional style housing via chinahush] [images5-6> Anhui Province traditional Red Village by deconcrete2010]