I really want to love this. I do. It’s clever, it’s necessary, it’s cheap, it should work.
But I don’t, I hate it. I think I’ve been hanging around with architects too long. I look at the Reaction Housing System and I wonder where the people are. Really, four people living in that space? Four people from any country in the world, but most of all four people from the US?
The talk almost gets there. Almost. There’s a passing mention of connecting them to each other, putting bathrooms in, using some as an office, that they’re easy to hook up to electricity, but it’s a passing mention.
First they cannot house a family of four, not for longer than one night, or maybe in a real disaster situation a week. Even in third world countries, four people housed on two sets of bunks is not a popular living space. Couples want double beds, parents don’t want their children on the top bunk, people everywhere want a tiny bit of privacy, even if it’s just a curtain. They also want to be able to store cooking equipment, food, a change of clothes, water . . .
As it stands these pods suffer from the “segway problem”. The segway was an improvement over the bicycle, but it wasn’t enough of an improvement to justify a technology shift for everyday users. At the moment, these are an improvement over basic huts, tents or putting everyone in a school hall, but they’re not enough of an improvement to justify the technology shift.
They do have potential though. The idea is almost there, but for the love of God, please put the people back in. Give me a timeline. Day one, shipment one, there are four people in every pod. End of week one, another shipment, every family of four gets an extra pod connected to the back. The parents sleep in the back, the children sleep in the front, and during the day the front becomes a sitting room, maybe there’s an awning out front, which provides shelter when people are cooking.
After a month, maybe half the people in the camp have managed to make alternative arrangements. Their old pods are redistributed, and retooled. Every family of four now has two bedrooms, a sitting room pod, a kitchen pod and a bathroom pod. The camp is set up with “houses” in circles, in streets, in cul de sacs. Then show me that the site where these people used to live has been cleared and they simply move back there, taking their pods with them and using them as shelter while their house is rebuilt.
Oh and for the love of all that is good in this world, please don’t show me a grey house. Paint them yellow, or white, or red, or green. Anything but grey.