Slumtube: Affordable Housing Made From Shipping Pallets!

by , 12/06/10

slumtube, pallet house, palettenhaus, affordable housing, shipping pallets, green design, sustainable architecture

Schnetzer and Gregor built upon what they learned from constructing modular pallet houses, improving upon their original design to make it even more affordable. In previous designs, the pallets were used as floors, walls, ceilings and cladding, but they required sturdy wood beams, which were the most expensive part of the home. The new round design eliminates some of these expensive beams, but it’s still designed and built to European standards for structural soundness.

In Johannesburg, temperatures can fluctuate from 45 degrees C in the summer to -2 degrees in the winter, and many homes are not equipped to keep residents comfortable. Most shelters are made out of metal sheets and wooden beams — these serve well to keep the rain out, but provide no insulation, so they are sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter. Residents usually burn whatever they can find to provide heat — even discarded pallets that they find at nearby factories.

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  1. Zot February 15, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    How is it insulated and wired? Would have been nice to see that level of detail. Windows would also be nice in a real house.

  2. TJBROOKS January 18, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    What are the triangular brackets made of?

  3. alex4change December 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Bridgette,

    I appreciated your post for Blog Action Day (Top 6 Life Saving Designs for Clean Drinking Water), and this one about the SlumTube is great too in that both call out the reality that pervasive problems – like access to clean water and affordable housing, respectively – need to be nimbly addressed with fresh solutions in different places. Since no “silver bullet” is going to work everywhere, innovative design and technology must converge with local conditions, traditions, opportunities and limitations to deliver the right invention in the right location.

    On that same theme, do you know about the P&G GIVE Health Clean Water Blogivation? Using a simple widget, more than 300 bloggers and their readers have already generated more than 70,000 days of clean drinking water that P&G will donate to people in need through its Children’s Safe Drinking Water program (CSDW). CSDW uses PUR water purification technology which, like the examples you noted in your posts, is a solution that is very well suited to specific situations where other solutions may be less effective or available.

    As your posts reflect, the potential for design to address a host of social and environmental issues is seemingly limitless, which is super exciting. We don’t have any bloggers on the GIVE team who are exploring change from this perspective, and we’d be excited to have you onboard. The team goal is to reach 100,000 days of donated water by the end of the year.

    Please check out, or ping me directly at alex at changents dot com for more info.

    Thanks for your consideration. Hope to hear from you.

    Alex Hofmann
    Co-Founder, Changents
    Partner to P&G GIVE Health

    PS: has been on the Changents blog roll of fave sites for quite a while. Really like what you all are presenting here.

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