Hong Kong is so expensive that architects are building 100-square-foot ‘tube homes’ made from concrete water pipes

An architect from Hong-Kong is building micro homes from tubes to help alleviate the city's housing crisis. Image: James Law Cybertecture

Leanna Garfield
Reporter, Tech Insider
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on China?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how China is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


For the past seven years, Hong Kong has held the title of the world's priciest city for home-buyers, according to the 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

James Law, a Hong Kong-based architect, believes that his micro-homes could help alleviate the city's housing crisis. But his tiny home designs are anything but typical — they are concrete water pipes outfitted with all the amenities of a modern home.

Law explains more about his "tube home" design below.

Called the OPod, the "tube homes" measure 100 square feet. For perspective, a standard one-car garage is about 200 square feet.

Image: James Law Cybertecture

Law's firm, James Law Cybertecture, manufactured the tube home pictured below from a water pipe with a diameter of 8.2 feet.

Image: James Law Cybertecture

It includes a sofa that folds out into a bed, as well as shelves, a mini-fridge, a microwave, and a bathroom with a shower.

Image: James Law Cybertecture

Right now, the home design is only a prototype. But Law said he planned to start selling the homes soon — his team is seeking permits from the city to start building.

Each tube home will cost $15,000. That's not cheap, but it's much less than the average price of a new home in Hong Kong: $1.8 million for a 600-square-foot unit, according to one estimate.

Image: Financial Times
Have you read?

Law sees his tube homes as one temporary solution to Hong Kong's housing shortage. The pods could stack in unused urban space, like shipyards ...

Image: James Law Cybertecture

... between buildings ...

Image: James Law Cybertecture

... or even under highways.

Since the pipes weigh nearly 22 tons, they don't need bolts to stay together when stacked. Law said that would keep installation costs low.

Image: James Law Cybertecture

"In Hong Kong, many people live in squalid conditions or in partition dwellings, as there are extremely high rents, housing costs, and inadequate public housing," he said. "The OPod is an inexpensive alternative."

Image: James Law Cybertecture
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Davos 2024: Special Address by H.E. Li Qiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

January 17, 2024

Liming Chen

January 14, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum