Prototype shelter offers basic home for displaced Nepalese

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The recently-built Temporary Shelter in Nepal(Credit: Charles Lai and Takehiko Suzuki)

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Efforts to design a safe and affordable home for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people have resulted in some impressive architectural innovation, including the Bamboo Micro House, S House, and Ikea's Better Shelter. The recently-built Temporary Shelter in Nepal is aimed at offering displaced Nepalese a basic but flexible shelter that can be built by a group of unskilled workers within three days.

The aptly-named Temporary Shelter in Nepal project came about in the wake of the earthquake that devastated the country earlier this year. Following the quake, Architects Charles Lai and Takehiko Suzuki created the architectural relief organization Architecture for the Mass and collaborated with Hong Kong-based charity One Village Focus Funds along the way.

Asserting that one of the challenges facing Nepal's vulnerable is that supplies, including suitable shelters, often can't be delivered quickly due to poor transport infrastructure, Lai and Suzuki designed a simple bamboo-based framework that can serve as the basis for a temporary shelter and is easily replicated by unskilled locals.

With a floorspace measuring 18 sq m (193 sq ft) and comprising one large interior space, the prototype shelter has no amenities to speak of. The roof is sloped to aid rainwater runoff, and the interior floor section is raised on a platform. The prototype cost around US$500 and took two days to build using timber and metal sheets salvaged from damaged houses. However, the crux of the project is not the prototype pictured, but rather the manual that Lai and Suzuki also created to aid locals in building their own shelter.

The pair report that following their instructions, which could be downloaded or distributed on paper, even unskilled workers should be able to erect their own shelter within two or three days using local bamboo and whatever suitable cladding can be salvaged. The design can be scaled up or down as required, and the idea is that locals can follow the design to create makeshift temporary buildings like basic shelters, nurseries, community centers, and clinics.

The video below shows the shelter being constructed.

View gallery - 14 images

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