They think that cargotecture could save these people from the dangerous slums.
A design duo in Egypt has formed a company called Qubix that has local architects talking about a possible material for future projects: cargotecture. Cargotecture is an emerging trend in which shipping containers are used to build a variety of places, from houses to work spaces to a Starbucks location.
The duo, Youssef Farag and Karim Rafla, founded the company just over one year ago and spent months testing different materials and techniques for insulation and comfortability. Rafla spent time studying in Britain and and came across the art of cargotecture, which made him question whether the concept had ever been employed by people living in Egypt. When he visited a city just outside of London that’s made entirely of shipping containers, he was enthralled with the idea.
“People are living in containers in this city, it was too good to be true. Cargotecture is a hybrid of construction and manufacturing ” Rafla told Egyptian Sheets.
Once Rafla returned from Britain, Farag loved the idea as well and offered his backyard as the first place for them to do all of their testing and design. The duo thinks that shipping containers had not been used there yet because of a misconception about what living in one must be like. With the insulation methods that they use, they now report being able to keep the interior of the container at a maximum of 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Many people think that you’re going to be in a metal box, and that you’ll sit there and suffocate … Egypt is hot enough! But no, that’s not true,” Farag told Reuters.
Rafla predicted that the concept would work well in Egypt because it’s cost-effective, mobile, and saves energy and unnecessary pollution since the containers would normally be melted down. The housing crisis in Egypt stems from slums that have been built by citizens who don’t know anything about architecture and the hefty price of traditional building materials in the nation. There are 351 slums in Egypt deemed structurally unsafe for living, mostly in Cairo, but the people living there can’t afford to leave or rebuild because of the cost of materials.
The duo at Qubix hope to combat this crisis by offering their skills with cargotecture. They currently build custom structures from used containers and have already deployed several of their first orders.
“Poor people who need a place to sleep build these slums and they’re not engineers, often these places aren’t safe. In the near future we hope to create housing made from containers that is safe, colorful, fast and cheap that can help solve our housing crisis,” Rafla said.
According to Rafla, this concept can be used to replace any housing within just a few days because it is so fast and cheap. Another huge advantage is that no on-site construction needs to be done, meaning there is little to no risk of injury or disruption in deploying these structures.