As too many recent events have proven, the perils of a natural disaster don’t end when the wind dies down or the ground stops shaking. The journey to recovery, particularly in developing regions, is typically long, trying, and expensive. To address the problem of quickly, safely, and permanently sheltering newly homeless residents, Reose, a sustainable kit-home manufacturer formed by steel SIPs maker Oceansafe and education consortium The Regen Group, challenged eight New Orleans–based architecture firms to design a kit house that can be erected quickly, withstand extreme conditions (including winds from 160 to 225 mph and 8.6-magnitude earthquakes) and generate its own energy and water while meeting energy and performance guidelines.
Each architect worked with the same set of materials—Oceansafe steel SIPs panels, high-performance windows, low-flow toilets, solar panels, cisterns, etc.—all of which fit into a single shipping container for easy transport to sites. The houses, designed to be permanent and ranging from 800 to 1,100 square feet, cost around $100 per square foot. On July 22, a jury awarded the grand prize to Judith Kinnard and Tiffany Lin for the “SunShower SSIP” house. “It was very readily built, had a great floor plan, had an interesting aesthetic, [could be used in] a wide variety of configurations, and generally answered all the questions,” says judge Bill Reed, AIA, a founding USGBC board member and principal of the Integrative Design Collaborative and Regenesis, noting in particular how the design served the dual needs of immediacy and long-term livability.
Kinnard and Lin’s project will be erected in New Orleans as a model for visiting representatives of Haiti, Iraq, Chile, and other countries, who will tour that home as well as review the other seven entries. Each group can select a house from the collection that can then be customized for its region and needs.
The model also will allow Reose to demonstrate the long-term efficiency of the building and the SIPs system through ongoing performance and energy testing.