Small concrete boxes to house bushfire victims

Small concrete boxes to house bushfire victims

10 April 2009

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Australia — First there was the iPod, which packed hours of music into one tiny device.

Happy as peas in a pod: Jacqueline Marchant and Stoney Black with son Davey, 7, check out the pod. Picture: Nicole GarmstonNow, small concrete boxes called “regrowth pods” could house hundreds of families left homeless in the Black Saturday catastrophe.

The designers of the pre-cast concrete modules believe they provide a quick, cheap way of allowing bushfire victims to return to their land.

Each pod comes ready-made with living space and fittings for a bathroom and kitchen, and is fully wired and plumbed.

Kinglake couple Jacqueline Marchant and Stoney Black, and their son David, 7, are the first family to have a “regrowth pod” installed.

They lost their house in Coombs Rd, Kinglake, the street where Brian Naylor and his wife died.

“It’s a fantastic concept. What more could people ask for?” Mr Black said.

“A simple, quick-fix building, connected to your existing septic. It’s move in, start living straight away.”

Designed by Melbourne firm 1:1 Architects, the “regrowth pod” was donated to the family by Joss Constructions of Albury.

They are available at a cost of $30,000, and can be built as single or multiple units and placed on almost any block in two weeks.

Juliet Moore, a director of 1:1, lives in Coombs Rd and her experience escaping the inferno drove the project.

“The regrowth pod is not a temporary building, and the beauty of it is that when you are ready to rebuild you can simply add what you want,” Ms Moore said.

One of the main attractions of the pod is that it is made from totally non-combustible materials and would give protection in a bushfire.

An international competition to design houses built around the pods has already received 600 entries from as far away as Russia and the Bahamas.

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