Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Danger Room gets out-Wired

Danger Room gets a lot of love, for completely deserved reasons, for its coverage of the tech-side of war. Just sometimes it lacks the tech-side of peace.

BLDGBlog can show what architects can do in tight spots. Build-it-quick defenses could make the Hescos unnecessary, and thus the FOBs obsolete, in forward locations. This would allow the military to get closer to the people its trying to protect. COIN and all. And it's not like those defenses were making any Afghans happy, now, was it?

Could you imagine what Aga Khan could do with something like the Disaster-proof house?

Could these become the building blocks for a new generation of houses that are durable, affordable, energy efficient, and sustainable? InnoVida hopes so. The panels have an R-value of 5.88 per inch, with a total tested wall R-value of 14.6 for a 2.5-inch panel, or 23.7 for a 4-inch panel. “R-24 gives it an insulating factor greater than a refrigerator, whereas a regular wall has an R-value of 6 to 9,” says Sanchez.

The other major benefit--particularly where disaster relief is concerned--is that the houses can be built quickly. The average InnoVida house can be built in a quarter of the time it takes to build a conventional house, according to the manufacturer. And because all panels are made to order, the building and manufacturing processes produce very little job site waste, air pollution, or natural resource consumption. Finally, the flat-pack homes can be built with no heavy equipment (forklifts or cranes) and only a few skilled workers.

Sanchez estimates that a 1,250 square foot house could be built for $50,000 to $60,000, depending on the market and site conditions.

The Defense Industry is insular and slow-thinking. They tend to either react to old issues or create solutions to bizarre, non-existent, ones. Architects and designers find the simplest solutions to the least elegant of problems. They ought to get a lot more listen-to.

I've already written a bunch tonight and am in no mood to write more, so I'm going to leave this up as more of a thought-piece. The tools are out there to have a cleaner counter-insurgency theory. They just need to get into hands that listen (purposeful mis-metaphor alert).

And if any Central Asia nerds are reading this and find their way into Saint Louis, get the Muntoo at Sameem's. You can thank me later (or by buying me a plate of it yourself).


  1. "The defense industry is insular and slow-thinking" amen.

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