Gallery: Pop-Up Village for Haiti Made From 900 Shipping Containers


Haitian Canadian musician Luck Mervil is leading the charge to help rebuild Haiti with houses made from repurposed shipping containers. Mervil is behind the Montreal organization Vilaj Vilaj, which wants to use 900 shipping containers to build an entirely new village west of Port-au-Prince fit for 5,000 people. The organization aims to build sustainable and long-term housing in Haiti — and eventually elsewhere — with the help of local Haitians.

Mervil, who has put his own career aside to work on this important project, expects the entire community to cost around $25 million and has been ardently working to raise the funds. The new village will be built on a parcel of previously uninhabited land near Leogane, a coastal city west of Port-au-Prince. A prototype shipping container house was built in Canada in 10 days for between $8,000 and $10,000, and Mervil expects the costs to be much lower in Haiti.

The village will consist of a series of 900 shipping containers grouped together in a grid and separated by open space, parks, and playing fields. Both 40 and 20-foot containers will be used to construct durable, long-term and hurricane and earthquake resistant homes. Each home will offer roughly 320 sq feet of living space with running water and bathrooms. The village will also be self-sufficient, with space for companies to set up shop so that villagers can work and support themselves.

+ Vilaj Vilaj

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  1. nissou October 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I really applaude the idea of using containers to provide a decent shellter for the people in Haiti. My concern focuses more on the practicality of the idea. Haiti is known to be a hot country, I would like to know if there is any thought on how the spaces will be kept cool and insulated? Again very great idea.
    looking foward to reading you soon

  2. randyfuchs September 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I feel the shipping container housing projects in Haiti are an excellent idea ! They are inexpensive and very strong. I came from the United States and have been living in the Dominican Republic for 7 months…. traveling back and forth to Haiti to help earthquake victims. A friend of mine is in the shipping container business here in the DR and in Haiti. We have built several prototype shipping container houses for various groups and have been very pleased with the results. In the United States I have been involved in helping in the aftermath of several hurricanes. I was exposed to the FEMA trailers and how they are tied down. If these shipping containers are tied down properly, they should be virtually indestructible !

  3. CanObs September 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Using recycled containers is a wonderful idea, they could be used in a cross pile arrangement like habitat 67 in montreal or the Cuban pavillion at expo 67. Hoping this project will have success and help Haitian families soon.

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