Gallery: Dominican Authorities Approve Container Cities For Haiti Housi...


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.

+ GMZ Design

+ Richard’s Architecture + Design


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Brian Rahal January 12, 2015 at 9:43 am Proper shelter in Haiti is so much more than four walls and a roof.

  2. Rainwater Harvesting March 25, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Rainwater Harvesting

    Excellence.. This is the right tough!! Thanks for such a great post and the review, I am totally impressed! Keep stuff like this coming. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Bathroom Renovations Br... January 15, 2012 at 7:12 am

    As a bathroom renovator and in the building industry I have worked on several shipping containers turned into homes and are continually in awe of them. I tend to only do Bathroom Renovations in Brisbane but would love to eventually turn my business green making and selling these types of containers. Such a cheap and eco friendly building solution…. love it and thanks for sharing the info, there is not enough of it on the net

  4. gregboan May 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    wouldnt the temperatures in these containers bake the residents?

  5. russelldurant May 1, 2011 at 2:32 am

    This makes perfect sense; they have been using shipping containers in vancouver as housing for homeless people, so why not try something like this too? I’d love to see these used in more relief efforts around the world.

  6. Jayprakash Shukla September 16, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I would like to Export Container city houses to other third world countries, please contact me soon.

  7. tfm April 21, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Yes they will be sturdy ehough but I would not build to high. What would be good is if a list was made up of furnature building materials and extr supplys then have cities sponsor houses or clinics. The containers would be shipped o the city then filled and shipped to hatie.

  8. beatriz April 11, 2010 at 10:06 am

    By the way, I referred to Chile in my earlier comment because the same container “solution” was suggested for Chile.

  9. beatriz April 11, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Chile has plenty of derelict containers, for instance those that were thrown around during the earthquake in Talcahuano (one of the main ports). Chile has also experience in seismic construction technology which is what assisted to save lives during the earthquake. Before coming up with solutions (such as the container designs), it would be important for the architectural community to learn about the realities of the countries in question–countries differ.

  10. bernie April 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Having made a few of these in So. FLorida, I have found the heat to be the biggest obstacle. I overcame most of it by using shade cloth, 83% blockage, It becomes a ‘hat’ over the units, held in place by telephone poles.

  11. melbwatson March 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Interesting idea, but I also have reservations about how hot they’ll get, and whether Haitian residents will find the design convenient or attractive. Did any Haitians participate in the design process? Will Haitians be employed to manufacture and install the units? I used to live in the Dominican Republic, and the thought of living in a metal box with few windows and no shade from trees sounds almost unbearable in the hot Caribbean sun.

  12. jenymar March 11, 2010 at 9:08 am

    containers may be fine near a port, but they had a great deal of trouble getting even small pickups through the streets after the earthquake. what is your plan for the uphill victims?

  13. sager March 10, 2010 at 3:18 am

    How will you manage your team as well as your team member

  14. katiebee March 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I wonder just how hot they will get. They are made of metal, won’t they cook in the sun?

  15. Christopher Tingus March 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    We, too are offering a proven design, a 200 sq. ft. eco-friendly, earthquake resistant housing unit as a permanent solution with rain water retention system as well as solar. Inittially we will be shipping (75) housing units per each 40′ container, however planning focuses on having the housing manufactured locally.

    christopher tingus

    We are also well versed in offering portable water purification units as well as globally experienced in addressing substantial waste water project requirements as we work with authorities….

  16. Christopher Tingus March 2, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    We wish your group much success as folks desperatly require assistance.

    We, too have a 200 sq. ft. eco-friendly housing unit with rain water retention system and solar as well as earthquake resistant and much more….Initially (75) units will be shipped in each 40′ container, however within a short time, such housing will be manufactured locally.

  17. cadgod101 March 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I built one in Colorado and it survived a tornado they can be reinforced for earthquakes if necessary. After all they stack can stack them, loaded 5 high on rolling deck at sea.

  18. attilaimre March 1, 2010 at 3:29 am

    I appreciade that, because i sell shipping containers to in my country. If it posbile, we can help to in this project.

    Whit regards,
    Attila imre.

  19. SgS February 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Looks interesting enough but is it really feasible? I’m not convinced.

  20. davidwayneosedach February 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Excellent design! I hope they can get as many as possible up and rolling before the rainy season starts.

  21. falch313 February 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I have been hoping for something along the lines of shipping containers for Haiti. I do worry a bit about how earthquake proof they are if stacked though.

  22. falch313 February 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I was hoping for this. Wonder how earthquake safe these dwellings are especially if stacked.

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home