Award-winning architect and designer Abeer Seikaly has developed a practical yet elegant solution to the need for lightweight, mobile, and structurally sound shelters for disaster zones. The Canadian-Jordanian's Weaving a Home project not only provides flexible, transportable shelter, but also incorporates water collection, solar power generation and solar water heating into the design.
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.
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.
Photos by Abeer Seikaly