In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan—one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded—effective disaster relief is once again at the forefront of the world's consciousness. What do you do when your home and belongings have been destroyed due to flash floods or landslides? Temporary shelters are a key part of the recovery process - read ahead for 8 examples of prefabricated, quickly deployable emergency shelters that use different technologies to address transport, power, insulation, and water needs.
IKEA Solar-Powered Flat Pack Shelter
This flat pack, easy to transport shelter was developed in collaboration between the IKEA Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). True to IKEA’s expertise in flat packing and assembly, this 188-square foot emergency shelter is easy to assemble and can be built in just four hours. It is twice the size of a regulation refugee tent and can sleep five people comfortably. The shelter comes with solar-powered roofing, eliminating the need for candles or kerosene lamps, which can pose a danger of fire. Plus, the roof deflects solar heat gain by 70%, keeping the interior cool during hot weather.
Portable buBbLe House
This innovative and compact shelter is the result of a design collaboration between MMAS and architect/artist Ciprano Chas. It consists of a starter kit accommodating a two-day stay and comes with various kit accessories that allows people to lengthen their stay if they need to. It comes in a compact metal locker that holds a two cubic meter shelter composed of a lightweight plastic skin which hangs on a drop-down aluminum frame. The walls have an insulating chamber that can be filled with anything from water to air to grass to clothing. The chamber can serve as storage as well as insulation and provides privacy. The buBbLe House includes a water hook-up, a small kitchen, laundry, and lighting.
The Accordion reCover Shelter
This beautiful and simple shelter was designed by Matthew Malone, Amanda Goldberg, Jennifer Metcalf and Grant Meecham. It can sustain a family of four following a disaster for up to a month. The origami-like structure can be entirely collapsed into not one, but two shapes —horseshoe or flat—depending on which is easier to transport. It takes only a few minutes to set up and it can be done by one person. The ridges in the structure can be used to collect drinking water. Whatever materials that are on hand, or even ground cover can be used to insulate the structure in harsh weather.
EDV-01 Emergency Shelter
This high-tech shelter is a product of Diawa Lease and is about the size of a shipping container, though it can double in height with a flick of a switch. It can sustain itself without any outside resources for up to a month by catching and reusing water, and generating electricity with a sizable solar array. The EDV-01 can be transported by truck or helicopter to areas in need. Bunk beds and an office desk are built in. The lower portion has a shower and a bio toilet, a small kitchen, storage for supplies, and equipment. A unique aspect of this shelter is its pixelated skin that can light up and serve as signage, providing critical emergency information to people in the community.
This versatile shelter was designed by Jason Ross and Sean Verdecia, graduate students at the University of South Florida. It is a prefab living module that could be used for either housing, classrooms or even office space. The parts are flat-packed, shipped, and can be assembled in about two hours. The design is based on identical and universal aluminum structural insulated panels (SIPS) that clip together without the use of any tools. The floor joists and the columns in the walls are also identical, with the ability to house electrical conduit. The plug-and-play assembly allows for economies of scale during fabrication, efficient shipping, and easy assembly. It can be deployed single or double-wide and can include multiple bedrooms, kitchen, work space, storage and bathroom.
Another origami-inspired shelter, the Folding House was designed by Min Tang of China. It is constructed with renewable materials and can be folded into a variety of structurally sound shapes. The home utilizes a system of bamboo poles that are pre-assembled into rigid geometric shapes. The geometry provides each form with structural integrity, allowing a range of lightweight modular structures to be quickly assembled in factories, and then transported to where they’re needed. Once the structure is assembled, the shelter can be clad using recycled paper.
Green Horizon Prefab Home
This very sustainable shelter was designed by James Pope of Green Horizon. It can sustain a family of four with a week’s worth of food, electricity, and water without external support. The Green Horizon Prefab home is constructed from 100% recycled or recyclable materials, and features a metal frame construction that allows for a nearly endless array of configurations. This prefab technology can produce medical units, communications units, offices, and community centers as well. The shelter comes complete with electrical and plumbing systems, and is sturdy enough to be stackable, so an entire community of units can be linked together to share resources such as power and water. It can even generate its own electricity using photovoltaic panels and biofuel generators, and could potentially sell excess energy back to the grid. The prefab home can be towed by truck, carted by train or even fit into a shipping container for travel by sea. These shelters can be endlessly reused by simply swapping and repairing individual components.
Transient Response System
This futuristic and awe-inspiring shelter was designed by Adrian Ariosa and Doy Laufer at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. It comes equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, and a rainwater catchment system to generate power and provide water. The MASTODON is a massive, all terrain, amphibious vehicle designed to bring the components of the rescue tower to the emergency site. The vehicle can also be used in flood rescues as it is equipped with multiple lifts. After a flood or earthquake, the MASTODON can provide robust emergency housing. The tower has four large jacks at its base that can lift it six stories above ground level, protecting its residents from any residual effects from flooding. The tower itself is comprised of three-story modules, and at the top of the structure, a solar power system and wind turbines collect energy to run the shelter.