Temporary Housing for Displaced Fukushima Residents

Hey Lloyd,

My wife put me on to this temporary housing effort for displaced Fukushima residents in Japan.

   70 carpenters worked on the project, building 3 structures a day. Everything was made from natural local materials. The goal was to have a whole building to recycle when temporary housing isn’t needed anymore.

   PDF: here.

   YouTube: here.

   The PDF has the best photos, but the YouTube video shows a house in progress. If your Japanese is rusty, the last part of the video is contrasting the wood structures with other less inviting ‘conventional’ options for relief housing.

   Japanese stick-framing is sort of a hybrid timber frame approach. Try to spot the skarf-joints in the headers and dado settings in the floor trusses. Gotta love these guys…

   Marshall (Thompson)

8 Responses to Temporary Housing for Displaced Fukushima Residents

  1. Anonymous says:

    i think they look amazing…i wonder if some would likely prefer to keep these as their permanent homes.

    also, when i looked through the PDF, one fellow is putting something like "straw" but bigger in…wonder is this insulation? and what is it?

  2. wren says:

    Try to frame a floor like that on an American job sight with all those perfectly let-in floor joist. I dare you.

  3. Al Whittle says:

    Looks like an incredible effort and a display of skill.
    Inspirational stuff :o)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey Lloyd! What a great effort and a beautiful one. It is staggering to realize, though, that this is only a drop in the bucket. The number of displaced is still close to 90% and the clean up is still going on… 2 years after. Don't mean to be a wet blanket, but it is the reality that these people live with. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=585197708164702&set=a.201593576525119.51204.201131439904666&type=1&theater

    I think it is wonderful nevertheless that these professionals are "doing" something about it. I loved the comment in the video that said "It seems a waste to just take it down when the time comes since these buildings can become a full-fledge one if given new foundation and roof." I do hope that they'll really do that.


  5. Anonymous says:

    beats the heck out of a FEMA trailer park full of formaldehyde leeching cheap trailers.

    But the trailers were ready to go sooner than these beautiful houses, so…no easy solution.

    Maybe we need a quickly deployable shelter that, if the need for housing lasts longer than a few weeks, could be converted into part of the material for a more permanent structure: start with one of those yurts that come from 4×8 sheets, but then use those yurt panels to make the longer-term structure (if, in fact, the yurt isn't durable).

    …but you still wouldn't have a decent looking place, compared to this.

  6. jparkes says:

    Impressive. Japanese carpentry is some of the finest in the world. I would imagine these are better built than most American homes. Maybe they'll number the components for reconstruction and sell them on e-bay when taken down.

  7. Unknown says:

    Love the carpentry. As a finish carpenter, the thing is, the satisfaction you get when you produce excellent work. It makes the work fun, and you feel good about what you are doing. …I noticed some work like this in Canada, at a MacDonald's! Here (in America) it seems like it's all about "get it done, now!" – We are definitely (by and large) in the grip of profit I guess – never have quite understood why "pursuit of excellence" isn't more important to everyone…in the rush to make money, just no time for it I suppose. There are lots of possible explanations – but I know the best, essential thing, for everyone involved, is to do good work. The effect in a house makes the people living there feel better and be more positive about life, and that giving that you do in the beginning, making the extra effort, can keep on giving for 3 or 4 generations.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In answer to the person asking about the straw insulation: yes, that is probably rice straw. It offers some insulation but probably more importantly it moderates humidity.

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