Concrete Tents Could Help Solve Japan’s Post-Quake Housing Crisis

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Need a new home? Just add water.

When permanent structures are reduced to rubble due to a natural disaster, say the earthquake in Japan or tornadoes in the Southern U.S., immediate housing can be a challenge – rebuilding can’t exactly be completed overnight. But two Brits are touting their new invention as just that: a simple, mostly-permanent housing solution that can indeed go up in a day’s time.

(PHOTOS: See Japan’s devastation)

Their Concrete Canvas creation takes two materials that are on opposite sides of the flexibility spectrum and combines them into a uniquely hardy building material. The initially flimsy fabric is embedded with concrete particles that, when doused with water, form the typical hard stuff that can form a permanent structure. On the inside is an inflatable bubble that acts as insulation, making for a certainly livable interior of 25 square meters (269 square feet).

The tent comes prepackaged and can supposedly be set up by two people in about an hour. Once the panels are laid over the inside liner, the creators say it’s as simply as spraying with water – and waiting. And at an estimated price of £5,000 ($8,100), it’s probably the quickest and cheapest rebuilding you can do.

Now it’s not the sort of thing you’d want to put a mailbox in front of and call your permanent residence, but it sure is cool for a dwelling in case of emergency.

(PHOTOS: See the tornadoes that ripped through the South)