An emergency shelter that assembles in 5 hours

A tent is cheap and easy to set up, but provides little more than temporary relief. What if you could combine the efficiency of a tent with the stability of a house?
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are still living tents three years after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurred west of Port-au-Prince. And while tents do have their merits -- cheap and fast to set up -- they’re not really meant to be more than just temporary relief. Constructing a custom-built structure, on the other hand, is too time consuming and expensive.

What if you could create a structure that combines the efficiency of a tent with the comfort and stability of a four-walled structure? Wired reports.

Dutch architect Pieter Stoutjesdijk of ECOnnect has an idea for emergency housing shelter for Haiti: a structure with interlocking pieces that can be assembled into an actual home in less than five hours. Watch the video below.

The whole concept would cost less than $10,000 to manufacture. Admittedly, that’s too high to be realistic in disaster settings... but it’s digitally fabricated and open source, which allows further collaboration and possibly improvements.

Stoutjesdijk believes that this type of digital fabrication, an open source design that can be distributed as a digital file, could spark a rebirth of the industrial revolution. In this Industrial Revolution 2.0, you, your brother or your grandma will be able to set the parameters of a design, which will then be produced locally and delivered on demand.

  • Each piece has a specific joint that locks into its neighboring piece, securing them in three directions to create a strong bond.
  • The building is made almost entirely from agricultural residues and can be waterproofed with a nano-coating.
  • A double-layered roof allows for maximum ventilation in the house.
  • The roof is also shaped like a parabola, which acts as a mirror in the concentrated solar power system, creating a low-tech, low-cost electricity generator.
  • This also helps to collect rainwater and purify it through the passive solar system before being stored in a water bag below the ground floor.

They’re in the process of applying the Haiti housing concept to the Dutch climate -- which will be used in the next few months to create the first digitally fabricated piece of architecture in the Netherlands. “After this first proof of concept,” Stoutjesdijk says, “ECOnnect is about to focus on large-scale housing projects in undeveloped countries.”


Image: ECOnnect via Wired Design

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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