Humanitarian disasters like the ongoing Syrian crisis prove the widespread need for emergency shelters isn't disappearing anytime soon, so potential improvements in the field are always welcome. Belgian outfit DMOA has thrown its hat into the ring with Maggie: a shelter that functions like a tent, but is more stable and permanent.

While still in the prototype stage, DMOA envisions Maggie eventually serving as a community center, school, or medical center. Its size is flexible and can offer a floorspace between 27 sq m (290 sq ft) and 300 sq m (3,229 sq ft).

The shelter is constructed from galvanized steel and aluminum supports, covered by layers of hard-wearing tarpaulin to serve as walls and roof. In a similar way to the Re:Build shelter, the hollow walls and roof of the Maggie would be filled with whatever's available locally to use as insulation, such as straw, sand, or even plastic waste.

Heating comes in the form of a standard wood-burning stove, while small windows offer some natural light and ventilation. Some kind of efficient heat exchanger system is also planned for the future, as are solar panels. DMOA reports that up to five Maggie units could fit inside a standard shipping container and rates construction time as within one day. The shelter is also modular and can be joined with other units to increase available space.

"Host countries don't allow fixed buildings, but displaced people need structures to create safer environments for their families to survive and rebuild their lives," reasons the team. "We created a low-cost shelter that looks like a tent, but has the qualities and advantages of a solid building."

It's still too early to tell how well the shelter would perform in the real world, but in a bid to find out, DMOA has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise US$41,000 toward moving the prototype into a product. The firm promises to donate the model built using donated money to young orphaned refugees.

Once everything is up and running, DMOA expects a 93 sq m (1,000 sq ft) school or medical ward to cost around $15,700.

The video below shows more information on the project.

Sources: DMOA, Indiegogo

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