Competition Details

emergency disaster shelter

by Samantha Fong

A system of strong, lightweight and collapsible temporary disaster shelters for rapid deployment to disaster zones utilising the sustainable use of materials and technology. The shelters are designed for use in the tropical climates of third world countries in South East Asia and are easily assembled by two to three persons in less than ten minutes.

There is a general misconception that the initial relief comes from external sources when it is in fact, the local humanitarian agencies within the disaster area themselves that are the first to react.

The shelter is thus, designed to allow for construction within the third world country using simple hand tools and knotting. This increases relief efficiency and provides a rapid deployment rate as shelter can be built and stored prior to a disaster.

The wood for poles can be from recycled (the poles used for the test model are from unwanted shipping pallets) or local sources such as bamboo, while cables can be nylon or any other similar material, hooks and hinges are standard components that are easily mass-produced.

If the shelters are deployed internally, there is no need for the foldable poles. The hinges are optional and were added into the design to reduce the size of the packed kit to facilitate deployment from external sources. The tent and ground sheet are made from reinforced polythene plastic sheeting, currently used in most shelter systems.

The shelters are based on tensegrity systems, highly stable and strong structures where tension and compression forces are evenly balanced. Removing a single cable breaks this equilibrium and collapses the shelter where it can be rolled into a bundle, making disassembly and collection fast.