Gallery: Flat Pack Prefabs Could Provide Relief in Haiti


The tragic earthquake in Haiti has provoked a number of architects to think about how they can help with disaster relief. One recent example we looked at was the SEED project, which uses shipping containers as temporary housing. Now architect Andres Duany has designed a fireproof, waterproof, and moldproof flat-pack temporary house that could easily be shipped to the ailing country.

The composite construction homes, which measure 8’2″ x 8’2″ x 19’8, sleep eight using bunk beds. Additional modules can be tacked on for larger homes. Duany already has a prototype under construction in a Florida factory — the next step is to scout out potential sites in Haiti and get sponsorships to build, ship, and install the homes.

Duany has experience in disaster relief. The architect helped design and construct 3,000 homes after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Mississippi. And he already has modular home company Innovida lined up to help with the flat pack houses. Even if Duany only gets a few hundred of his houses out to Haiti, it’s always encouraging to see new, quality examples of emergency shelter.

+ Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co

Via Jetson Green


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  1. jenniferjuniper97 May 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    These shelters could be used to house homeless in the USA as well.

  2. ESLICE Prefab Homes: Sa... December 10, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    […] has a simple two-story, two bedroom model as well as plans for a three story home, temporary housing, and multi-family developments. The designers also see the prefab building perfect for hotels, ski […]

  3. Harry Thaler's Stacked ... November 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm

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  4. Heber May 3, 2010 at 11:53 am

    There is a upgraded version of the Hexayurt that is made of durable panels, ships flat and provides effective temporary and transitional shelter. Since land issues are a big issue, it is important that a structure be portable. It is made by Homergent and is called Flexayurt.

  5. jenymar March 11, 2010 at 10:34 am

    The lessons learned from Aceh’s struggle to extract itself from the tsunami’s aftermath can be readily applied to Haiti.

    1) Any materials at all are dearly brought into a disaster area..make the most of what you get in there.

    2) “Temporary” housing does not really work. Better to provide a starter home that can be adjusted and expanded.

    3) Left to their own devices, locals will cut down trees or utilize local resources that can not necessarily withstand a sudden surge in demand. Who can blame them? They have lives to rebuild. Haiti is widely known for its deforestation issues.

    4) Resistant to the idea at the time, Jakarta will now admit that pre-fab techniques could have succeeded in Aceh.

    Panelized light frame construction can work if thoughtfully applied.

  6. peterinVT March 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Here is another design. It can be made with local materials, needs minimal skills and can be upgraded to a permanent building. What I would like to see is prefabbed wall sections that could be stacked and then connected with gusset type connectors.

  7. The Refinishing Touch February 4, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    With thousands left homeless in Haiti, providing shelter for survivors remains a troubling problem. Duany’s temporary-housing prototype does a great job at effectively utilizing space in a way that is both inexpensive and easy to ship and assemble. In addition, recycling shipping containers is a great benefit to the environment. Hopefully Duany’s solution and others like it will be adopted and implemented quickly to provide rapid assistance to those affected in Haiti.

  8. greenhomeproject February 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    GlennR, those are mostly bedrooms; Haitians are used to living outdoors and as a temporary measure, something like this is better than what they have now — tents – and they don’t like living in tents. Have you slept in a tent in a hot place? As soon as the sun rises it turns into an oven.

  9. GlennR January 31, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I can’t see 8 people living in one of those boxes for very long. It is only 8 x 20 , 160 sq ft. A tent would be as useful and simpler to transport & erect, and be much less expensive.

  10. metis January 31, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    while the hexayurt is remarkably simple, and great for certain sorts of conditions, it’s really not a long term solution. birds will damage the foil as they land on it, and a soccer ball will put a dent in the foam. don’t get me wrong, they’re great, but for temp housing a pop up tent ships in a smaller footprint. for a mid term solution it’s great, but it’s not reusable over the long term as the metal frame of a pop up tent with a replacable recyclable non-woven cover would be.

    i want to poke around more on this design, it’s interesting, but it looks heavy and bulky, great for a long term solution, but not a good rapid deployment solution.

  11. Chris Watkins January 30, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I like this – I’m also a fan of Andres Duany and his work on urban design.

    I wonder though, for Haiti. Better to have a larger number of even simpler shelters?

    Note the simpler design of the Hexayurt. Proven to work well in hot conditions (Burning Man) and being considered by teams in Haiti.

    I think both Duany’s design and the hexayurt have their applications – it would be interesting to see a detailed comparison though.

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