House Made from Reclaimed Pallets Stands up to Tropical Cyclone

House Made from Reclaimed Wooden Pallets Stands up to Tropical Cyclone

A unique little house designed and built by three university students and constructed out of wooden pallets withstood category-three winds, ranging from 111 to 129 mph, from Tropical Cyclone Marcia’s that battered Rockhampton, Australia in February. In fact, the little house faired so well in the storm that it could serve to become a prototype for temporary emergency shelters in disaster-struck regions.

Constructed over a year ago by Angus Hughes and two friends, students at Central Queensland University, the house won a national competition that put the house on the road to wider-spread construction. Hughes two accomplices, engineering students Mattison Rose and Jessica Kahl tweaked the draft, turning the house into a flat-pack design and allowing it to be released as emergency housing, putting marginalized Australians to work building pallet-house kits.

The three Rockhampton students were in Melbourne when Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit, and were definitely surprised when the house held its ground while other sturdier structures around it were badly damaged. Hughes said he realized their little house could serve as an emergency shelter prototype when he saw everything that was going on throughout the storm, with his family’s home taking on some damage from the cyclone, but the pallet house remaining virtually unscathed.

Hughes said that he and his classmates are focusing on disaster-relief shelters as part of “The Big Idea,” which is a project hosted by “The Big Issue,” an independent magazine sold by homeless, marginalized and disadvantaged people in Australia. Hughes said their plan is to set up a business, with their business plan being fine-tuned with the expert help of The Big Idea as well as accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Hughes said the next phase of the venture is to conduct a comprehensive research project into the feasibility of building larger houses from pallets.

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