In a bid to alleviate the global refugee housing crisis, Paris-based design studio Cutwork developed a conceptual housing proposal that it says will only take one day and, at minimum, two people without special construction skills to assemble. The concrete textile exterior can harden into a protective shell within 24 hours after water is added — a quick process that gives rise the project’s nickname, “Just Add Water.”

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos
gray gabled shelter home with solar panels

According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are approximately 25.9 million refugees in the world. To help address the humanitarian crisis in refugee housing, Cortex Composites teamed up with Cutwork to design a self-built and low-cost housing solution that can last for more than 30 years with minimal maintenance. The Cortex Shelter combines Cutwork’s bendable metallic tube construction system with Cortex Composites’ rollable concrete technology to create a conceptual, flat-pack housing unit that can be easily assembled without the need for heavy equipment or machinery.

Related: Temporary lantern-like housing for refugees could slot beneath bridges

gray gabled shelter home with solar panels and blue patio chairs outside

Each housing unit would feature a frame of metallic tubes, easily bent by hand, with waterproof and washable insulation sheets “snapped and locked” into place. Finally, Cortex Composites’ rollable concrete textile would be laid over the top of the exterior frame and combined with water to cure and harden into a protective shell.

studio living space with white sofa and clothesline for drying clothes

Topped with a simple gabled roof, the conceptual refugee shelter measures 22.6 feet in length and 11.8 feet in width to offer enough room for a private kitchen and bathroom area in addition to living space. Solar panels can be installed on the roof to power mobile phones and internal lighting. Operable windows would let in natural light and ventilation.

small white room with mattress and pallet furniture

“Built to last for over 30 years, the Cortex Shelter by Cutwork is cheap to build and maintain, vastly more so than the current temporary tent options,” reads the press release from Cutwork. “Weatherproofed for all seasons and climate conditions, its secure and strong walls are fire-, knife- and attack-proof, and there is a strong, key-operated door for further security.”

+ Cutwork

+ Cortex Composites

Images via Cutwork