Tents to disrupt housing market?
Monday, May 10th, 2004
WSJ (May 10) “The trusty old tent isn’t just for camping any more. Schools, churches and even prisons are choosing tents over buildings these days because they are cheaper and quicker to erect. A new, elaborate generation of products can accommodate elevators and chandeliers. Instead of canvas, the novel tents have vinyl walls. Instead of poles running up the center, giant metal frames support the structures. Some have doors that lock, windows with screens, wood floors, heating and air-conditioning, and wall-to-wall carpeting. Strong ones can withstand winds of up to 80 miles an hour.” …
“As its membership grew, New Life Church considered putting up a metal or concrete building. But the tent won out because it cost about $800,000 less than a traditional building and shaved four to six months off the construction time. The unconventional design appeals to teenagers, who use the facility for youth-ministry meetings and concerts, says Brian Newberg, financial controller for New Life, which has a main church building, as well.”
The subscriber-only article.
For housing the tent has all the classic traits of “disruptive technologies” as defined by Clayton Christensen. Tents are weaker, cheaper, simpler, easier to use, appealing to different types of customers, sold through different sales channels, and migrating quickly up market.
We still rely on stone, concrete and wood, building materials first used by ancient man. Why not dwell in computer-optimized structures and materials?