Architecture

Emergency shelter prototype assembles like an Ikea cupboard

Emergency shelter prototype as...
BVN Donovan Hill's emergency shelter
BVN Donovan Hill's emergency shelter
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The emergency shelter was unveiled at Melbourne's Emergency Shelter Exhibition
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The emergency shelter was unveiled at Melbourne's Emergency Shelter Exhibition
The emergency shelter is said to assemble much like an IKEA cupboard
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The emergency shelter is said to assemble much like an IKEA cupboard
The shelter requires two people to construct
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The shelter requires two people to construct
Once the main frame is built, a waterproof skin is added to keep out the elements
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Once the main frame is built, a waterproof skin is added to keep out the elements
The shelter is constructed from pre-cut, laser-shaped plywood boards
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The shelter is constructed from pre-cut, laser-shaped plywood boards
Each section of plywood fits into its counterpart with the help of notched cutouts, no further tools needed
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Each section of plywood fits into its counterpart with the help of notched cutouts, no further tools needed
The contours of the wooden shape can be used as beds and stools
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The contours of the wooden shape can be used as beds and stools
The interior area of the shelter is 100 square-feet (9.5 sq m)
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The interior area of the shelter is 100 square-feet (9.5 sq m)
The emergency shelter weighs approximately 480 kg (around half a ton)
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The emergency shelter weighs approximately 480 kg (around half a ton)
BVN Donovan Hill's emergency shelter
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BVN Donovan Hill's emergency shelter
View gallery - 10 images

Australian architecture firm BVN Donovan Hill made an appearance at Melbourne’s recent Emergency Shelter Exhibition in order to demonstrate its new emergency shelter concept. Developed with the aim of providing comfortable surroundings for its occupants, the temporary structure resembles a 3D puzzle and is said to assemble much like an Ikea cupboard.

When the need for an emergency shelter arises, durability and safety are of paramount importance. However, providing these requirements are met, perhaps a focus on producing a pleasant space is a worthy goal too. BVN Donovan Hill asserts that good design can add to the comfort and overall well-being of displaced and vulnerable people who have been forced by circumstance to live in an emergency shelter.

"Central to our thinking has been designing a shelter that provides a sense of joy, delight and spatial experiences that are nurturing in a time of tragedy and displacement," explained Jane Williams, Principal at BVN Donovan Hill. "By questioning what the internal and external qualities could be, we can design shelters that provide meaningful spaces – private space for individuals and families, enabling children to play and groups gather without it being in a central hall used by hundreds of people."

The shelter is constructed from pre-cut, laser-shaped plywood boards
The shelter is constructed from pre-cut, laser-shaped plywood boards

The shelter is constructed from pre-cut, laser-shaped plywood boards, which would be delivered to the site flat-packed. Each section of plywood fits into its counterpart via notched cutouts, no further tools needed. The contours of the wooden shape can be used as beds and stools, and assembly requires only one or two people. The eventual aim is that the shelter could be assembled within one day.

Once the main frame is built, a waterproof skin is added to keep out the elements. For the moment, the outer skin of the prototype is PVC, but BVN Donovan Hill envisions that recycled vinyl billboards or truck coverings could be used in the future.

The interior area of the shelter is 100 sq ft (9.5 sq m), and it weighs approximately 480 kg (around half a ton), so is definitely more substantial than, say, the Cardborigami shelter.

Crucial details such as on-board water and sanitation facilities are not expanded on by BVN Donovan Hill at this early stage of the shelter's development, and for this reason, it should be considered an interesting concept, rather than finished product. We'll yet you know if and when it evolves into the latter.

Source: BVN Donovan Hill via Inhabitat

View gallery - 10 images
20 comments
Dave B13
Is it me, or am I looking at a 1000 lb lean-to that takes a day to put together and probably cost $4000. USD.
BigGoofyGuy
I think it is way cool looking. It would make for a cool gazebo or back yard shelter. As an emergency shelter, I think it is not very practical.
Jeff Rosati
Have they ever seen a "tent" ... this thing is ridiculous.
Slowburn
Expensive, hard to ship, and hard to put together. What's the emergency not having the Champagne properly chilled?
Reinvent
Emergency shelter for homeless architects. Who will then hire contractors to put it together and want to know why it's taking so long.
Kevin Frothngham
Jeff Rosati, tents sit on the ground. The floor in this design is raised up off of the cold, hard, and sometimes very wet ground. In winter, the tent floor acts as a heat sink. These structures appear to be easily insulated
Slowburn
Tents are easily insulated too. Well insulated tent are less expensive and are easier to ship and erect than this as well.
Jordan Engel
That's an inherently scary headline.
Kevin Frothngham
Okay, slowburn, I'll yield on that. What about water/run-off problems Think Katrina aftermath.
Slowburn
You need solid ground to set up either so what is the advantage that you see in that absurdly heavy, complicated, and expensive thing they are calling an emergency shelter.