Architecture

London studio simplifies shelter for disaster relief

London studio simplifies shelt...
The Duffy Shelter measures 185 x 125 x 142 cm (73 x 49 x 56 in) and can sleep two adults
The Duffy Shelter measures 185 x 125 x 142 cm (73 x 49 x 56 in) and can sleep two adults
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The Duffy Shelter measures 185 x 125 x 142 cm (73 x 49 x 56 in) and can sleep two adults
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The Duffy Shelter measures 185 x 125 x 142 cm (73 x 49 x 56 in) and can sleep two adults
The Duffy Shelter can be assembled using only a screwdriver
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The Duffy Shelter can be assembled using only a screwdriver
The Duffy Shelter can be provided in a variety of finishes
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The Duffy Shelter can be provided in a variety of finishes
The Duffy shelter can be used for purposes other than disaster relief, such as camping
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The Duffy shelter can be used for purposes other than disaster relief, such as camping
The Duffy Shelter has a wooden structure and is insulated with fabric on the inside
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The Duffy Shelter has a wooden structure and is insulated with fabric on the inside 
The Duffy Shelter is raised up on its legs to eliminate cold or damp from the ground seeping inside
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The Duffy Shelter is raised up on its legs to eliminate cold or damp from the ground seeping inside
The Duffy Shelter can be adapted for transportation on a trailer
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The Duffy Shelter can be adapted for transportation on a trailer
The option for adapting the Duffy Shelter for transportation on a trailer was inspired by mini teardrop campers
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The option for adapting the Duffy Shelter for transportation on a trailer was inspired by mini teardrop campers
The Duffy Shelter is designed to be cost-effective, easy to transport and quick to construct
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The Duffy Shelter is designed to be cost-effective, easy to transport and quick to construct
Up to up to 35 flat-packed Duffy Shelters can be fitted in a standard van, providing potential accommodation for up to 70 people
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Up to up to 35 flat-packed Duffy Shelters can be fitted in a standard van, providing potential accommodation for up to 70 people
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Disaster relief shelters need to be cost-effective, easy to transport and quick to construct, which explains why many, including Ikea's, use a flat-pack design. Showing just what's possible in this format, the Duffy Shelter can be constructed in less than an hour and up to 35 of them can be transported in a single van.

The shelter is designed by London-based studio Duffy London, which also fabricates them, and came about after company founder Chris Duffy was asked to volunteer for a day building emergency shelters. Although he enjoyed the day, Duffy felt that the shelters that he and the group were building simply weren't practical, with too many fiddly parts, lengthy construction times and too much bulk for easy transport.

That day, says Duffy, he committed to designing a shelter that would address these issues and he's been working on the design for the past year-and-a-half. The result is a raised, pod-like structure measuring 185 x 125 x 142 cm (73 x 49 x 56 in) that can sleep two adults and be assembled using only a screwdriver.

The flat-pack wooden pieces of the Duffy shelter are produced using a CNC cutting machine, with the wood itself sourced from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)-managed forests and other controlled sources. Among the wooden pieces of each shelter are two walls, a floor, a pair of crossing legs, four feet and two doors. Additional components include hinges, windows, shutters, seals and screws.

The Duffy Shelter is designed to be cost-effective, easy to transport and quick to construct
The Duffy Shelter is designed to be cost-effective, easy to transport and quick to construct

By raising the shelter up on its legs, it is possible to eliminate much of the cold or damp from the ground seeping inside. The interior of the structure is insulated with fabric to help regulate temperature and there's enough space for two adults to sleep side-by-side, as well as an opaque window and a shelf. It's also possible to have a variety of finishes applied to the shelters.

The shelter can, of course, be used for purposes other than disaster relief, such as camping. Duffy cites mini teardrop caravan trailers as one of the inspirations for the shelter's design, which he ensured could be adapted for transportation on a trailer. For large-scale distribution, meanwhile, up to 35 of the flat-packs can be stacked in a standard transit van, providing potential accommodation for up to 70 people.

The option for adapting the Duffy Shelter for transportation on a trailer was inspired by mini teardrop campers
The option for adapting the Duffy Shelter for transportation on a trailer was inspired by mini teardrop campers

A number of prototypes of the shelter were created during the design phase, Duffy tells New Atlas, and there is one based on the final design at the Duffy London studio that is being used for reference and for final pre-production design tweaks. We've asked for images of that model, but none were forthcoming, so all we have to share are the computer renders at this time.

The shelter was launched earlier this week and is available for large orders from companies and charities, with a 12- to 16-week lead-time. Single unit availability for the public is expected from the first or second quarter of next year. Pricing is also expected to be released at that time, with quotes for large orders available on request now.

Source: Duffy London

View gallery - 10 images
3 comments
3 comments
MQ
So a flatpack raised hard-back (and floor) tent seems the go.
Why not use a tool-free construction? That would be easier and avoid the need for a screwdriver.
But for real disaster relief, it still seems hard to beat canvas in the short term. (What about those cement impregnated tents we saw posited a few years ago, pitches like a tent, gets hosed down and turns into a permanent structure.
Lardo
This is a pretty slick design. I would be very interested in seeing the price. Both single and multi unit. Given the materials and manufacturing process, I would think it could quite affordable.
MattII
@MD, tents are good if you don't mind feeling damp, because they're useless for repelling ground-water. As for those concrete shelters, those last too long if anything, and need a fork-lift to get out of the van, while these need only a screwdriver, which could be carried in bunches in the cab of the van.