by , 07/13/07

Clean Hub, emergency housing, emergency architecture, shelter architecture, architecture for humanity, water purification

The Clean Hub, “a new prototype for sustainable infrastructure” conceived by Shelter Architecture in collaboration with Architecture for Humanity, and designed and built by architecture students from the University of Minnesota, is a breath of fresh air in an often-luxury prefab world. One of the finalists in American Express’ Members Project (vote for the Clean Hub here!), the freestanding module delivers completely off-the-grid infrastructure, from clean water and sanitation to renewable power to disaster areas or rural locations without access to such resources.

The Clean Hub is an excellent architectural solution for post-emergency demographics and rural locations in need of off-the-grid power and water. The Clean Hub is also scalable to its specific human and natural ecosystem responding to population density, rainfall, sunlight and soil conditions.

John Dwyer, adjunct professor and partner with Shelter Architecture, said, “While our first prototype focuses on disaster response and refugee camps, we see the Clean Hub reaching all those who live without adequate supply of water, sanitation or power. Our hope is to design and deliver integrated, small scale infrastructure to millions in ways that range from entirely manufactured to entirely self built.”

“As with the Farmer’s Market in New Orleans, the home of the first prototype, we continue to see the Clean Hub as a catalyst for creating stable cultures. It’s scaled to serve 150 people at a time which coincides with the optimal number of people in a stable society. Also, when in use, the Clean Hub will produce compost allowing it to be coupled with small scale agriculture. This, in turn, creates a micro-economy”

It’s great to see such design talent being focused on real, global, socially-based problems. If you’re as impressed with the Clean Hub as we are, be sure to cast your vote by July 15th on American Express’ Members Project site here.

+ The Clean Hub (on the Open Architecture Network)

+ Shelter Architecture
+ Architecture for Humanity

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  1. | September 29, 2007 at 11:42 am

    […] Inhabitat ? PREFAB FRIDAY: CLEAN HUBJust meet peoples needs quickly and affordably. Jonce Says: July 13th, 2007 at 5:39 pm. I love the idea of this will being used for temporary refuge camps … […]

  2. | September 28, 2007 at 6:41 am

    […] Inhabitat ? PREFAB FRIDAY: CLEAN HUBMeet people from your area in the country and keep in touch. Includes blog, forums, email, groups, games, events and etc… Try New Challanges, … […]

  3. dipo architects - indon... August 4, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    would help me to implementation this very – very good design to thousand island on indonesia?

  4. anonymous-julie July 26, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Yay! It’s so nice to see a non-luxury project.

  5. Marie July 19, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Hooray for the innovative thinkers. If you have survived or experienced any of the cause and effects of Hurrican e Katrina or Rita…you will support any and all who will contribute to the non-conventional buildings. I am from the gulf coast area and love this type of progress. Currently looking into all high quality pre-fab and modular constructions for luxury housing and commercial use in our community. Maybe the guys at Jeriko house can give you some tips and show you how to turn this product into a something Kate and Jonce are hoping for. check em out.. you wouldn’t mind having one of these as your “neighbor”

  6. Tom W. July 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Just a couple of clarifications about the clean hub. This first prototype was built using donated and salvaged materials, by undergraduate architecture students, for a total cost of under $5,000 (including materials for some systems that did not make it in the final design). In production, costs would be higher of course, but materials used are common and except for some of the technology, fairly cheap. The 150 users comes from Dunbar’s number (or as we like to call it the Monkeysphere), based on the work of anthropologist Robin Dunbar describing the number of people who can maintain a social relationship. We needed to come up with a number to size the septic system and this seemed to be a good base to work from. While it does not provide housing, it does address other physical needs in disaster situations. Thanks for the comments.

  7. The Latest Architectura... July 16, 2007 at 6:28 am

    […] (more…) […]

  8. Kate July 14, 2007 at 12:07 am

    I agree with Jonce. If these structures become more commonplace, people can put them wherever they feel like and this interferes with the beautiful open space. They are pretty cool otherwise

  9. Jonce July 13, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    I love the idea of this will being used for temporary refuge camps and disaster relief housing. However, I would hate to see this off-the-grid structure being used in places that have available adequate urban services (water, sewer, power). This would only encourage people to live farther away from the city core increasing urban sprawl.

  10. D July 13, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Any ideas on how often projects like this are implemented? It seems like every architect has designed refugee/disaster relief housing and it has been a design project that seems to be repeated endlessely. But other than a couple of pictures, I haven’t seen any actually used or have interest expressed in being used. I agree with what the previous poster says and how come if we have so much design talent working on it there has yet to be anything that is workable. And why do these projects always come with some sort of philosophy behind them like this 150 people per stable society BS. That seems more a hinderance to the problem then a useful design goal. Just meet peoples needs quickly and affordably.

  11. Michael V. July 13, 2007 at 10:55 am

    The initial prototype looks like it was designed during and or in an actual natural disaster. Everyone seems to be designing “homeless shelters” or some type of shelter for some cause and that is great thing, however the cost of designing, building, delivering, erecting and setting up these shelters costs as much as buying your first home. I have read estimates of various types of temporary and semi-permanent shelters costing between $25,000 to $200,000 per shelter. I would love to see how many units any government will be willing to buy and store for some impending natural disaster?

  12. Jon King July 13, 2007 at 9:45 am

    I think this is a great and concept, and highly needed. I also admire the method of promotion. It’s also a good application of design talent. I can think of additional ways this idea could manifest itself such as portable units for major events such as “Taste of Chicago”. Thank You.

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