100% Recyclable Refuge: The reCover Disaster Relief Shelter
Image: Matthew Malone
With the devastating myriad of natural disasters now becoming more and more commonplace, is it possible to design a more effective relief response that won’t echo the shamefully negligent FEMA trailer fiasco? Though it looks a little flimsy and a little too much like a second-year design studio project, designers Matthew Malone, Amanda Goldberg, Jennifer Metcalf and Grant Meacham most probably had good intentions in mind when they came up with the intriguing, accordion-shaped reCover Shelter, which they claim can hold a family of four for up to a month and can be set up in a matter of minutes. Made of polypropylene (the same translucent, semi-rigid material as the tops of Tic-Tac containers), it means that there are no harmful leaching or out-gassing, and is completely recyclable – a nice touch.
The reCover Shelter’s foldable design allows it to collapse into either a flatpack or horseshoe configuration, making it easily transportable in large stacks. The ridges of the shelter bio-mimick the veins of a leaf, allowing it to collect drinking water. In addition, local materials can be harvested post-disaster to better improve the structure and insulation.
So even though it seems pretty bare bones - the lack of ventilated openings and waterproof flooring probably would not make happy campers - the reCover Shelter nevertheless suggests that perhaps simplicity is best. This is especially true in increasingly unpredictable disaster situations, when people most need a simple refuge from the storm that can adapt to their immediate need for shelter.
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