Haiti's Residential Quick Fix

Once the residents of Port-au-Prince are medically stabilized who is going to help rebuild Haiti? A design-build team at Clemson University's School of Architecture has a green solution for quickly finding homes for the thousands of displaced Haitians following last week's catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake and today's 6.1-magnitude aftershock. Empty shipping containers.

Motivated by the recent devastation of hurricanes in the Caribbean and the U.S., the SEED Project began experimenting with the repurposing of empty shipping containers. The surplus of massive, weather-withstanding empty containers sitting in the ports of Haiti and the Dominican Republic could quickly and easily be converted into sustainable emergency housing.

Making shipping containers into residences isn't a new concept. In fact, it can be a pretty nice place to call home. Projects like Tempo Housing'sKeetwonen complex in Amsterdam is home to 1,000 students and has amenities like personal balconies, free wi-fi and dedicated bike parking. Urban Space Management conceptualized Container City and Container City II in London, a complex of four- and five-story buildings -- Container City II even has an elevator and is handicap accessible. There's also the uber-lux Redondo Beach House by De Maria Design -- eight prefabricated, recycled steel shipping containers refashioned into some really fancy living.

But the work by the Clemson crew isn't about bells and whistles.