The shelter project began with group research presentations involving issues related to the aftermath of recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, aftermath of the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005, the ongoing issues of urban homelessness in the USA, the need for shelter in war zones, and the extremes of poverty worldwide. With a strong focus on altruism in our designs, our concept was aimed toward self dignity. With the request from our professor, we were encouraged to make the design “look like architecture,” and not what other shelters are becoming around the world. For instance, one extreme is a horizontally extruded pentagon made of plywood inspired strictly by cost, not modularity. Another extreme that has been given to disaster relief victims is essentially a collapsable clothes hamper. After research, we began to understand that neither of these structures would be something we would be proud to sleep in. Utilizing one simple rectangular slat made of oak plywood, our shelter can be mass produced, and shipped for assembly, or in the case of the model we built, footings, custom cots, and structure can be added for semi permanent capabilities. In the end, our shelter was the only one that survived a trial sleep. Others designed their shelters from the outside in, leaving an after thought decision of making the bed a flat sheet of plywood. Again, our concept was inspired by dignity - would we feel comfortable sleeping in this shelter and would we be proud to have this as our temporary dwelling after a terrible disaster? The test was successful as we woke up from our shelter in the middle of campus with hundreds of students walking passed us, we were proud to emerge from the dwelling.
Location: Built at Southern Illinois University Architecture Wood shop