In response to the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Japanese firm Architecture Global Aid has developed a unique disaster shelter solution called Origami Houses. Distributed before a disaster even happens, the shelters serve as large tables either in schools or in homes. Then after a disaster, the brightly colored tables can be located and folded into emergency housing to provide protection and privacy. This double-duty object serves the population in a very functional way both before and after a disaster.
The immediate days after a disaster are the most critical since victims need supplies and materials ASAP. Rather than wait for help to arrive with shelters, Architecture Global Aid wanted to create a more proactive solution that ensures shelters are already available and ready. Origami Houses are multi-purpose objects that residents can use in their every day lives, but when the need arises, they can be transformed to use as shelter.
The Origami House first begins as a flat-packed and sturdy table made of brightly colored wood – it is reinforced to resist any shock during an earthquake. In case of a tsunami, the table would also be able to float. As residents retreat to higher ground, the tables stay behind and float with the water. Afterwards, the brightly colored material would be easy to recognize and could be extracted to be used as an emergency shelter.
Once found, the material for the house pulls out from the table and folds into the cute little house-shaped shelters you see here. Made from waterproof material, the homes could be placed outdoors to establish a makeshift neighborhood. The tables and supports from the tables can also be reused to make clothing lines. Currently, a number of these tables are being tested out by students at Omori High School, in Tokyo Japan.
Images ©Architecture Global Aid