Numerous disaster relief housing projects have been proposed to help in the aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake last month, and while many of them seem workable, none (as of yet) will actually be implemented. But a new shipping container project designed by Richard Moreta and his team may change all that. Dominican Authorities just recently gave approval for Moreta’s “Container Cities” project, which utilizes a modular construction system along with recycled shipping containers, to be built in the Dominican Republic to supply housing for victims of the earthquake.
Richard Moreta is the principal architect for his own firm, Richard’s Architecture + Design as well as a principal of GMZ Design, with offices in Berlin, Mexico City, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Santo Domingo. He and his team have devised a modular building system relying on used shipping containers to create “Container Cities,” a simple, inexpensive, and easy to implement design and assembly process for temporary housing. For this project, Moreta and his team have built upon their previous experience using shipping containers for similar purposes in Bosnia and Italy.
Unlike many of the other container projects, Moreta’s utilizes a steel frame system with rubber rollers, which the containers are inserted into, allowing them to be easily stacked on a solid foundation. This system is also easily scalable, can respond quickly to the changing needs of the complex, and is lightweight and structurally sound against earthquakes. The Container Cities project also includes many sustainable design elements including natural ventilation, photo-electric sensitive cells, solar panels, wind turbines, double thickness insulation, glass facades for natural daylighting, rainwater collection, living roofs and bio-climatic technology solutions to make this project zero energy. At the end of its life as temporary housing, the container city could either be further modified for more permanent housing or be unbolted and moved to another location.