These Proposed Concrete Pipe Homes Could Ease the Housing Shortage in Hong Kong

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iStock

For many young people in Hong Kong, where space is limited and rent continues to soar, moving out of their parents’ home and into their own apartment remains a pipe dream. But Hong Kong-based architect James Law has his own pipe dream—and it could bring some much-needed affordable housing to the city of 7.3 million.

As spotted by Dezeen, a concept by the architecture firm James Law Cybertecture outlines a plan to construct micro homes out of concrete water pipes. The individual pipe homes could be stacked on top of each other and squeezed into narrow, unused spaces between city buildings.

"OPod Tube Housing is an experimental, low-cost, micro-living housing unit to ease Hong Kong's affordable housing problems," James Law told Dezeen.

Although it's still a concept, an “OPod Tube Housing” prototype built by the firm is homier than you would expect. The tubular-shaped home contains all the basic necessities for cooking, bathing, and sleeping. A bench seat can be converted into a bed, and there’s room for a mini fridge, microwave, suitcase stand, and clothing rack. The glazed door also doubles as a window, and lighting strips and a retractable lamp are also built into the homes.

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places to live on Earth, and the average resident’s apartment takes up about 150 square feet of space, according to Quartz. Another company in Hong Kong, called Markbox, has been converting shipping containers into micro apartments.

Check out Quartz’s video below to learn more about the OPod Tube Housing design.

[h/t Dezeen]

Notre-Dame's Rooftop Bees Survived the Historic Fire

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Following the fire that tore through Notre-Dame in Paris on April 15, fire officials shared that the church's bell towers, stone facade, and many of its precious artifacts had escaped destruction. But the building's centuries-old features weren't the only things threatened by the blaze: The three beehives on the roof of the cathedral were also at risk. Now, CNN reports that the bees of Notre-Dame and their homes have survived the historic fire.

Notre-Dame's beehives are a relatively recent addition to the site: They were placed on the first-floor rooftop over the sacristy and beneath one of the rose windows in 2013. Nicolas Geant, the church's beekeeper, has been in charge of caring for the roughly 180,000 Buckfast bees that make honey used to feed the hungry.

Most people weren't thinking of bees as they watched Notre-Dame burn, but when the fire was put out, Geant immediately searched drone photographs for the hives. While the cathedral's wooden roof and spire were gone, the beehives remained, though there was no way of knowing if the bees had survived without having someone check in person. Geant has since talked to Notre-Dame's spokesperson and learned that bees are flying in and out of the hives, which means that at least some of them are alive.

Because the beehives were kept in a section 100 feet below the main roof where the fire was blazing, they didn't meet the same fate as the church's other wooden structures. The hives were likely polluted with smoke, but this wouldn't have hurt the insects: Bees don't have lungs, so smoke calms them rather than suffocates them.

Notre-Dame's bees may have survived to buzz another day, but some parts of the building weren't so lucky. France has vowed to rebuild it, with over $1 billion donated toward the cause so far.

[h/t CNN]

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame Is the Best-Selling Book in France Right Now

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Thanks to current events, Victor Hugo's 188-year-old book The Hunchback of Notre-Dame has ascended the bestseller list in France. The novel follows a hunchback named Quasimodo who is living in the cathedral's bell tower in Paris during the 15th century. Now, following the fire that destroyed parts of Notre-Dame on Monday, April 15, readers in France are rushing to buy a copy, The Guardian reports.

Investigators aren't sure how the Notre-Dame fire started, but they suspect it resulted from an accident rather than arson or terrorism. The blaze consumed the structure's 800-year-old roof and iconic spire but left the stone facade, bell towers, and south rose window intact. France is already planning to rebuild the church, and so far $1 billion has been raised for the cause.

The Notre-Dame cathedral may not have become the beloved landmark it is today if wasn't for Victor Hugo. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame came out at a time when the cathedral was in disrepair, and by writing his book, Hugo hoped to revive interest in the historic piece of architecture. He did just that: In reaction to the novel's success, Notre-Dame underwent a massive restoration that lasted a quarter of a century. Many new elements were added, including that spire that was lost on Monday.

This week, the French people are returning to the book that's tied so deeply to Notre-Dame's reputation. On April 17, different editions of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame occupied the first, third, fifth, seventh, and eighth positions of the bestseller list of Amazon France. A book detailing the history of the Gothic cathedral claimed the sixth slot.

[h/t The Guardian]

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