Easy-to-assemble emergency flatpack shelter uses less than cubic metre of material

Nic Gonsalves & Nic Martoo
© Nic Gonsalves & Nic Martoo

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, the challenge of quickly and sufficiently providing aid and shelter to victims has been highlighted in major events like Haiti's 2010 earthquake and Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011. And though it's clear that design will not solve contextual problems like social and political instability, government corruption or corporate accountability, rapidly deployable, temporary housing is nevertheless vital for recovery to happen in a smoother fashion.

In their award-winning design for a flat pack emergency shelter, young Australian designers Nic Gonsalves and Nic Martoo take a modular approach to provide an adaptable dwelling. They say on ArchDaily:

The shelter has been conceived as a retreat that will return to victims a sense of control, facilitating the recovery process through its inhabitation. The core ideas behind the shelter design are: Ease of assembly without mechanical tools; Elevation above the ground plane; To provide a place for both the occupants and their belongings; The ability to control the level of engagement with the outside world; Flexibility to allow personalization and to create a sense of ownership; and the ability for transportation and reuse.

© Nic Gonsalves & Nic Martoo
© Nic Gonsalves & Nic Martoo

The design features a simple kit of parts that uses no mechanical fastenings, but uses a system of pins and dowels to hold it together. The shelter is constructed as a cube, with each face made up of intersecting, notched plywood members, and with only two repeating components for each side.

© Nic Gonsalves & Nic Martoo

Propped up on seven short piers to ensure adequate height above debris, the shelter is well-lit thanks to a plastic roof membrane, and the structural grid, overlaid with a vertically-hung, flexible skin of shingles provides ample storage and operable openings for light and ventilation.

© Nic Gonsalves & Nic Martoo
© Nic Gonsalves & Nic Martoo

Impressively, the entire shelter uses less than a cubic meter of material, meaning that it can be easily transported with small vehicles to disaster zones.

There's no word on how the shelter might be recycled afterward, or whether the shelter could be integrated into a longer-term plan of habitation, but it is certainly better than, say, a FEMA-issued trailer. More over at ArchDaily.

Tags: Architects | Architecture | Australia | Natural Disasters

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