House Arc

House Arc may look like an egg-shaped antidote to McMansion mania, but this small mail-order home was designed as a way to provide quick housing to victims of disaster.

“We wanted to see how we could produce a house that would fit into a flat packing container that could be shipped to communities in need, like New Orleans after Katrina,” said architect Joseph Bellomo, who worked on the modular home for two-and-a-half years. The result of this work is House Arc, a 150-square-foot structure of hollow steel tubes. Not only can the 3,000-pound modular home withstand high winds, it can also be boxed into a 120 cubic-foot freight container and shipped off to its next destination.

House Arc is designed to be put together like a piece of Ikea furniture, according to Bellomo. In other words, anyone with moderate carpentry skills should be able to assemble it. If the home is no longer needed, it can be taken apart easily and shipped somewhere else.

The curved design is so strong because it works like an arch, spreading the weight of any load, such as the pressure of a strong wind, across its surfaces rather than allowing it to concentrate on one spot. For Bellomo, it was important for the home to be practical, yet also attractive. Disaster victims are often relegated to substandard housing conditions, packed into trailers or tents for months after they lose their homes, he said. Bellomo was inspired to create the modular home after he made Bike Arc, a steel-arched shelter that riders could lock their bikes into.

Even though House Arc has a footprint of less than 100 square feet, it’s roomy inside, thanks to walls that bow out and nine-foot high ceilings.



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