Argentinian designers Matías Alter and Matías Carrizo have developed the Modularflex emergency response shelter in response to what they see as shortcomings with other designs. Generally, alternatives either require on-site assembly, which may require skilled hands; or they come pre-built, making transportation difficult and inefficient. The simple folding design of Modularflex sidesteps both problems.

Carrizo told Smart Planet that it is possible to transport up to seven units in a container-sized space. The Modularflex is shipped flat all the way to its final location, meaning the units can be arranged by forklift without need of a crane. The designers claim that three people can put up the Modularflex in 30 minutes, the hinged walls including a simple locking mechanism.

Folding does not equate to flimsiness, necessarily. The shelters are made from insulating panels similar to those used in supermarket cold rooms, making them suitable for temperatures between -5˚ F and 120˚ F (-21˚C and 49˚C).

Modularflex is apparently in talks with Argentine mining companies and the military. The price of an 80 sq ft unit is expected to be 38,000 Argentine pesos (US$7,500), Smart Planet reports.

This isn't the first emergency housing design we've seen that attempts to minimize the problems posed by transportation and assembly. The Reaction Housing System we looked at last June is a stackable shelter, and though it requires fixing to a separate floor piece, assembly is claimed to be possible in a mere two minutes.

View gallery - 6 images