We’ve seen our share of smart disaster relief shelters before, but none that ever featured a mobile skyscraper – until now. Dubbed the Transient Response System (TRS-1), this innovative design by architecture students Adrian Ariosa and Doy Laufer at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles is a deployable architectural base (called the MASTODON) that self-assembles using four giant jacks into a shelter for earthquake, flood and other natural disaster victims. The tower will be equipped with solar panels, wind turbines and a rainwater catchment system to generate power and provide water for its temporary residents.

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The MASTODON is a massive, all terrain, amphibious vehicle designed to bring the components of the rescue tower to the emergency site. But that’s not all it can do. The vehicle can also be used in flood rescues, and has lifts that can lower for people to hop onto and raise them to higher ground. The MASTODON actually has five lifts – the main lift is to provide people with immediate relief from a flood and the four others are used to bring cargo and other vehicles onto the base.

After a flood or earthquake have subsided, the MASTODON can provide emergency housing that is far more robust than what you would think a temporary shelter could provide. The tower has four large jacks at its base that can lift it 6 stories above ground level, protecting its residents from the residual effects of a flood. The tower itself is comprised of 3-story modules, and at the top of the structure, a solar power system and wind turbines collect energy needed to run the shelter.

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