Bamboo Micro House proposed to shelter Hong Kong's homeless


March 2, 2014

The Bamboo Micro-House prototype unit is designed by Hong Kong architectural firm AFFECT-T (Photo: AFFECT-T)

The Bamboo Micro-House prototype unit is designed by Hong Kong architectural firm AFFECT-T (Photo: AFFECT-T)

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In a bid to ease the plight of the homeless living in Hong Kong and other cities throughout southeast Asia, architectural studio AFFECT-T recently designed the Bamboo Micro-House prototype. The firm proposes that the tiny bamboo dwellings, which can be placed nearby other units to form small communities within Hong Kong's disused industrial buildings, would serve as temporary shelter while the occupants secure more stable and permanent public housing.

Gizmag has featured several low-cost bamboo housing prototypes before, including the Blooming Bamboo home and the Bamboo Lakou vision for Haiti, but the units designed for this project are on a much smaller scale. The two-story prototype unit featured here measures just 15 sq m (161 sq ft), while still featuring a living area, kitchenette, bathroom, fold-out dining table, work area, and sleeping quarters. Different sized units can also be combined to form larger areas for things like communal dining, games or education.

The idea is that numerous units could be combined into larger groupings making them suitable for individuals, couples or families. Individual "homes" would have their own water, electricity and waste disposal, while groups of units would share cooling, heating and be protected from the elements by the larger industrial structure in which they are located. The modularity of the transitional housing system would also allow the number of units to grow and shrink with demand.

AFFECT-T says the units would be constructed quickly and cheaply using local materials, with the pattern of the curved rattan pieces linking the walls and ceiling able to be varied to provide more or less ventilation and privacy as required. Such housing would be an improvement for the more than 280,000 people AFFECT-T estimates are currently living on the streets of Hong Kong without a permanent home.

There are also other designs slated for construction, including larger units and one suitable for disabled people.

The prototype Bamboo Micro-House can be viewed at an interactive display at the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale exhibition.

Source: AFFECT-T via Arch Daily

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Brings to mind a POW camp cage from the Vietnam War.


A lot of labor to build just 1 unit, with what appears to me as unfavorable results. why bend the bamboo in the 1st place? you only loose valuable floor space in an already small dwelling for decoration. It maybe me but I don't think to many people would feel comfortable living in these units.

Matt Fletcher

While the Idea of housing "the Homeless" in disused industrial buildings is laudable, the structures proposed strike me as a poor mix of "East Meets West" design & materials; Sure it makes use of bamboo in it's proposal, it's cheep, commonly available and likely to come a close second to rice when the west thinks Asia. But failure to make use of traditional building methods I.E. lashing and Steam bending, adds needles cost and complication to the building process..

Besides, a well lashed bamboo connection is Hugely stronger than a .25" threaded bolt will ever be, all the required materials can be sourced locally and local labour is more than capable of undertaking all the construction needs..

Go out-side and watch a bamboo Scaffold go up, then come back inside and try this again

This is a nice idea, but it's a feel good one at best..

Mark Whitton

Why do these look like cages with no privacy?

Ronald Chappell

Should bring this to Honolulu HI for its homeless population alone. fit into jungle tropical décor seen on all the Islands. Make into unique shapes or have residents shape bamboo into units, Must for No China & Phillppines too? Thailand, Mynamar?

Stephen Russell

These industrialised designs remind me of the housing boom of the 60's from were I live... Same structures, copy-pasted all over the city. It's a roof over your head, at best (when biohazardous pipes ain't leaking tap water all over the walls).

Looks practical, but I just know it'll look stupid a few decades later. Housing prices need to go down. If you need to borrow a life's worth of salary to have a home, then it's not a problem of design. It's a problem of economics.

These "homes" aren't the solution. They are symptoms.

Nitrozzy Seven
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