Young Australian humanitarian and social entrepreneur, Alastair Pryor has created a foldable crisis relief shelter for disaster victims and the housing displaced. Dubbed Compact Shelter, the portable dwelling boasts an innovative design that is simple to use, collapsible and lightweight. What's more it pops up and down in less than two minutes

Twenty-four-year-old Pryor was inspired to create the shelter after unintentionally disturbing a homeless man in the Melbourne CBD during the middle of winter, when working on a construction site.

"I used to work as a 'tradie,' building scaffolding and one morning we were drilling and it woke up a homeless man below us. It really made me think about how poor his living conditions were," Pryor tells Gizmag. "I thought if I could design a shelter that he could fold up each day or fold into a box it would be highly beneficial. I worked on this idea for quite some time until I started to think on a larger scale – aid relief. So I created a larger shelter to fit four people."

The Compact Shelter was thus designed to address the humanitarian need for cost-effective aid relief on a local and international scale and is suitable for use in a range of different environments or scenarios. Made from a UV stabilized polypropylene, the shelter weighs an impressive 16 kg (35 lb) and comes flat packed for easy transportation. The shelter collapses down to dimensions of 200 x 100 x 7 cm (79 x 40 x 2.75 in) and when fully erect measures 2 x 2 x 2 meters (6.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 ft), providing enough interior space for two adults and two children to sleep.

The Compact Shelter is also modular in design, meaning individual units can be joined together to create larger dwellings or two separate rooms. When combined together, the shelters can comfortably accommodate larger families, as well as providing privacy during times of hardship.

Pryor chose to use polypropylene as the main material for the shelter due to its durability, weather resistance and thermal properties. Having undergone extensive testing in order to meet the high standards set by aid relief organizations, the shelter has proven to be suitable to all sorts of weather conditions and is water- and wind-proof. The shelter also features air vents, which can manually open or close for air flow. It is designed so that cool air enters through the base of the shelter and warm air is expelled out via the ridge line.

"It has the twin wall profile extrusion meaning its thermal qualities are amazing during colder climates," tells Pryor. "We have also specifically teamed up with manufacturers that have the capability to fully recycle the polypropylene by melting it back down and reproducing it. We’re proud to say we’re 100 percent recyclable."

Besides from aid relief, the Compact Shelter could also make a great cheap and easy addition to the campsite or be used as a temporary outdoor structure in the backyard.

In order to live up to his initial intent to provide aid-relief that is not only practical but also accessible, Pryor has kept the total cost to a minimum, modestly pricing the Compact Shelter at US$150 per unit.

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