Beverley Mitchell

Beautiful Woven Refugee Tents Get Their Power from the Sun

by , 06/28/14


Drawing inspiration from traditional basket weaving techniques and the flexibility of snake skin, the designer uses weatherproof fabric drawn between durable, curved plastic tubing. This creates a structurally sound tent that can handle both compression and tension loads. The double-layered fabric tent skins are also hollow, allowing for weatherproof entrances and for water piping and electrical cables to run between the layers. While the design is scalable, the models shown are five meters in diameter and 2.4 meters high.

Related: Prefab Intershelter Dome Homes Pop Up Anywhere for Immediate Shelter

Each tent has its own water collection system, utilizing the natural channels formed by the skin to direct water to the storage point. By using a fabric with strong thermal properties, the tents can also convert solar radiation into power and heat collected water for showering. The strength of convection can also be used to draw fresh water into the heating system from an external source. The flexible design of the tents allow for openings to be made wherever they are needed to allow hot air out and to catch any cross-breezes. The tents also seal up tight in case of wet weather or cold conditions.

Seikaly states: “‘Weaving a Home’ reexamines the traditional architectural concept of tent shelters by creating a technical, structural fabric that expands to enclose and contracts for mobility while providing the comforts of contemporary life (heat, running water, electricity, storage, etc.)” The honeycomb-like design folds up neatly when not in use to allow for easy transportation to wherever the tents are needed. The project was a winning entry in the 2013 Lexus Design Awards.

+ Abeer Seikaly

Via Materia

Photos by Abeer Seikaly

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27 Comments

  1. Di Vincent September 4, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    thank you abeer , amazing ,, many thanks to you

  2. janetreid September 1, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    these are amazing for helping people in need well done best idea ive seen in years keep up the great work u do well done

    janet reid

  3. Miltlee August 19, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Very cool. I wonder where you can get one.

  4. Jacqueline Dwyer August 14, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Always creative and awesome, even when we are in unhappy and bleak situations!

  5. Forrest Phelps-Cook August 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Where can we purchase them?

  6. Jimmi Shrode July 17, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I would love to see one first hand. It looks very nice.

  7. Joan Rutherford July 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Pretty awesome!

  8. Makaala Tobin July 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Wow this is incredible, but what is the cost and availability? This design could be used for refugees as well as transitional and low cost temporary housing. Lets get them made and in use.

  9. Tim Biggins July 16, 2014 at 7:09 am

    The only obivious down side I see is the energy lost/used to produce the material and move it around to where it is used from where it was mined,to where it was refined. back around to where it is used. I like the 50 k rule.Limit imports . Build with the not transportable bricks that can be fabed from on sight materials.And find a way of doing arigaculture so we don’t have to spend all that anergy moving.

  10. Susana Heuer July 14, 2014 at 11:41 am

    what about when it rains, is it safe

  11. Ana Maria Irueste-Montes July 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Are this tents being made available to the displaced and refuges from Syria, and other conflict zones in the world?

  12. xena22 July 11, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Interesting stuff here.

  13. Karen Schultz July 11, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Wonderful design that enhances the landscape like an organic sculpture.

  14. nora gannon July 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I’d love one of theese as a sensory room for children with autism.

  15. Keri Binskin July 10, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Amazing concept and would be great to see them out there being used. Just a shame the photo shop images are so badly done it makes the idea look as though it will always just be an idea and never utilized to help those who need it most the most.

  16. robinlockemonda July 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Are these going to be mass produced soon for refugee camps? So needed!

  17. LimpingWolf July 10, 2014 at 10:33 am

    This is such an awesome idea. There appears to be a market for this concept. Many of us would like to know more about this design. Please let us know where they would be available, how much you expect they will cost. Congratulations again for bringing such a useful item to the world. You have great insight on how to design and bring your ideas to reality.

  18. Bass Traffic July 10, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Amazing design, good to see someone use something from natures many patterns and utilise it in such a way. Definitely interested in buying one of these when they go on sale and I’d even chip in a bit for a kickstarter if needed.

  19. K.L. July 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    These are AWESOME? Are they available in Canada? What is the cost? How compact are they to pack and store? Weight? Where can I find out more information? Thanks!

  20. BILL Leonard July 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    ADD me to the list of those looking for sales and size information.

  21. Greg Clark July 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Where can I buy one?

  22. annstrother July 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    These would be so grand for all of us living on earthquake faults!

  23. Karen Thompson July 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    how much will one of these cost.

  24. Maggie Marie July 2, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    How much does this epic tent cost??? When will it be for sale? Thank you!

  25. Anne Devlin July 2, 2014 at 5:25 am

    I want some at Dream School in Van Horn Texas

  26. judgejim June 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    How can I buy one. Be great on the Navajo red For sheep camp.

  27. faizaliqbaal June 25, 2014 at 11:47 am

    how can i buy one

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