Tina Hovsepian, a 2009 graduate from the USC School of Architecture, has designed and developed a foldable, portable, emergency housing shelter based on the principles of origami. Her Cardborigami shelter is constructed from recycled cardboard and expands into a shelter big enough for two people to sleep in. The cardboard origami shelter can then fold down small enough to carry or even be placed on bus bike racks for long distance transport.
During Hovsepian’s time at school she explored architectural skins and came up with the idea to design a cheap, transportable emergency housing shelter specifically for the homeless. After many iterations and design ideas, she settled on using recycled cardboard as the material because it was inexpensive, lightweight, sustainable, naturally insulated and had structural properties. Origami was the basis for the structure because it gave the cardboard even more structure and could easily be folded down for transport.
Hovsepian has built larger pavilion type shelters as well as smaller ones for individual use, and she is currently in talks with a non-profit organization called Everyone Deserves a Roof to find a manufacturer to develop the concept into a real product. Field research and testing of the current homeless shelter has already occurred on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Hovespian also hopes to refine the design so it becomes waterproof, fire-retardant, more comfortable and more portable. Eventually, the shelters would be distributed through EDAR to those individuals who need them.
Images © Cardborigami