When the 2019/2020 bushfire season eventually came to an end, over 17 million hectares of land had been burned, more than one billion mammals, birds and reptiles perished, 3,094 houses had burned to the ground, and 33 people tragically died.
The efforts of restoring these homes, landscapes and communities are ongoing, but when it comes to rebuilding structures and homes, we’re almost certain buildings will be built stronger, and with more fire-resistant materials to protect them from catastrophic elements — just in case disaster should strike again.
Back in November 2018, when the destructive Woolsey Fire in Southern California tore through the Santa Monica Mountains area in the US and destroyed a number of residences, LA architect Doug Burdge teamed up with builder Nate Garnero to design a fire-proof temporary home made from shipping containers.
The designers conceptualised these dwellings as a temporary means of housing while communities rebuilt their permanent homes.
Fondly named the ‘Buhaus’ (a portmanteau of Malibu and Bauhaus), the compact design features a multifunctional floorplan with clever storage solutions and a sleek aesthetic finish.
Just 14sqm in total, the floorplan houses enough room for a bedroom/living room/dining room and a spacious bathroom with shower, toilet and sink.
The main living space can be configured easily for the needs of the occupants in seconds.
With wall panels folded up, the space functions as a living room. A fold-down table transforms the room into a study or dining room, and come bedtime, a double bed with integrated storage as bedside tables can be pulled down.
Compact, yes, but the space has an impossibly airy feel about it thanks to the floor-to-ceiling folding windows that flank the living space and the large deck area that opens out from the bathroom, complete with an outdoor shower.
“We look at our unit as if someone was staying in a very cool hotel room,” Burdge tells Dwell. “It has everything they could need: a bed, sitting area, closet, mini-bar, bathroom, and an incredible outdoor shower experience.”
Fire-resistant metal panels clad the exterior of the unit, and can be customised to suit a range of design aesthetics in sleek aluminium or matte black. What’s more, the panels can be lifted on a hinge to shade parts of the outdoor area, and when pulled down provide privacy and protect the dwelling against harsh weather conditions.
The Buhaus starts at US $96,000 and can be customised to work off-grid with alternative energy. Build time takes three months, and the units can be shipped overseas to Australia.
Though a wonderful temporary home to be occupied while homes are rebuilt, the Buhaus could also be repurposed into holiday accommodation or a tiny home once a house is complete.