Melbourne recently held an Emergency Shelter Exhibition in Federation Square, where BVN Architecture created a beautiful shelter that fits together like a 3D puzzle. Starting from materials that are likely available immediately after a disaster, BVN set out to create a shelter that not only provided necessary protection from the elements, but also was inspiring and provides an element of joy. Prefabricated plywood pieces are laser-cut and then assembled together like a 3D dinosaur puzzle, and the shelter is designed to be wrapped in plastic or vinyl sheeting to protect the interior from rain, sun and wind.
The Melbourne Emergency Shelter Exhibition lasted from May 1-5, 2013 and was held in Federation Square where leading architects from the area designed and built emergency shelters. The purpose of the event was to explore solutions to emergency shelters in disaster-affected locations around the world. Obviously shelters are created to protect victims from the elements, but this exhibition also set out to explore how disaster relief and shelters could also provide support and comfort.
BVN’s solution explored the range of options in materials, but they settled on prefabrication using plywood. Plywood sheets are laser cut into 40 differently shaped pieces. These are then flat packed and shipped to the site, where 1-2 people assemble the shelter. No tools are needed and shelter is as easy to assemble as an IKEA cupboard. Plastic sheeting is affixed the exterior. The resulting circular shelter has an opening to access the interior and the shape of the parts create benches and a sleeping berth.
The Emergency Shelter by BVN Architecture is a working prototype, but provides a space where people can gather and feel safe. “Central to our thinking has been designing a shelter that provides a sense of joy, delight and spatial experiences that are nurturing in a time of tragedy and displacement,” said Jane Williams, Principal, BVN Donovan Hill. By questioning what the internal and external qualities could be, we can design shelters that provide meaningful spaces – private space for individuals and families, enabling children to play and groups gather without it being in a central hall used by hundreds of people.”
Images ©BVN Architecture