Construction specialists eager to help bushfire-ravaged communities have created flame-resistant homes out of shipping containers to shelter victims while their houses are rebuilt. After the Woolsey Fire destroyed almost 1,650 buildings in California in November 2018, Los Angeles architect Doug Burdge joined forces with builder Nate Garnero to design a temporary fireproof home to protect residents in case blazes ignited again. Just 14sqm in total, the ingenious design houses a bedroom, living cum dining room and spacious bathroom complete with shower, toilet and sink and costs $142,795 AUD per unit. Their creation has been nicknamed the ‘Buhaus’, a hybrid of Malibu – a beach city in the founders’ native Los Angeles – and Bauhaus, a German design movement which fuses beauty with practicality. Floor-to-ceiling windows make the living space feel considerably larger than its actual dimensions, while the bathroom opens onto a large deck with a second outdoor shower.
The walls of the main living area is lined with folding panels, which open out into a table and a double bed with integrated storage. Fire-resistant metal panels protect the outside of the house, and come in a variety of styles including matte black and sleek aluminium. Panels can be adjusted to shade the outdoor area and protect the deck from adverse weather. The containers can be customised to work off-grid using alternative energy sources which could be vital for survival in fire prone regions. Each unit takes three months to build, with shipping to Australia starting later in 2020.
A pre-order waiting list is available from Buhaus’ official website for people keen to register, including Australians who lost their homes to catastrophic bushfires over the past five months. Over 2,000 residences were destroyed across Australia during the summer infernos, which laid waste to 10million hectares of land and claimed the lives 29 people and more than a billion animals. Earlier this month, officials warned the rebuilding of Australian homes could take up to five years.