Shigeru Ban has been creating buildings out of recycled paper since 1986. He has built shelters and buildings, some permanent, completely out of paper all over the world. His DIY paper shelters are used after natural disasters around the globe.
Shigeru first started experimenting with his paper tube structures after he finished studying at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and Cooper Union’s School of Architecture in 1984. The paper tubes he uses to create his portable shelters are the same ones found in textile factories. Shigeru found that the tubes were much stronger than he imagined and were very easy to waterproof and fireproof. The paper tubes were low-cost and reliable, making them the perfect material for his architectural ideas.
At first Shigeru’s designs came in more of an art form. He created magnificient buildings out of the paper tubes that people would flock to see. He built a church, homes, and even built himself a paper office because he could not afford to rent one. Many of his structures were meant to be recycled, but became permanent fixtures because of their popularity. His focus shifted when he saw that his design could be used for emergency shelters in disaster situations.
Shigeru’s emergency shelters were first used in 1994 for refugees in Rwanda. The next year, after an earthquake in Japan, he used his paper materials to rebuild a local church that became a local fixture for 10 years.
There have been many natural disasters in the past few years that have devastated many places. Emergency preparedness has become a big issue because of this. There are several apps that have been launched in the past year to give people the ability to extend their preparation further and help them be alerted when disasters may strike.
The American Red Cross has created six mobile apps that smartphone users can download. They are for;
• Shelter Finder
• First Aid
These apps give people the ability to more easily access information dealing with emergencies and natural disasters. Many people are preparing for natural disasters by stocking up on food, purchasing portable shelters, and creating emergency kits. Right now is hurricane season in Louisiana and residents can use the hurricane app to receive updates on hurricane warnings. The hurricane app monitors local conditions and will help aid in storm preparations. There is even a feature that allows users to find help or let others know they are safe.
The apps can even function if cell towers go down, just on a lesser scale. Apps like the ones created by the Red Cross can be a valuable aid during a natural disaster. Being able to prepare better and find shelter during a disaster could be the difference between life and death.
Unfortunately, the increase in natural disasters around the world has created a need for rapidly deployable emergency housing. While many portable shelter designs have been put into production in the last decade, this one may be the best one yet. In terms of being able to airdrop and quickly deploy emergency housing for large numbers of people, Peter Anthony’s design is top-notch.
Peter Anthony’s collapsible, lightweight mobile platform is a self-contained living space made from composite material. Each unit is 8’x8’x8’ and weighs less than 200 pounds. The whole thing can be folded flat and can be assembled by two people in less than 30 minutes. The simple transport trailer can be modified to carry up to four units along with off-grid support systems that tether with the shelters for extended use.
Anthony has been a professional building designer for twenty years, but with the housing market down, has moved his focus to creating portable emergency housing. “The whole thing started from my desire to get involved in supporting relief efforts with disasters throughout the world,” Anthony said. Weight was his primary design and development concern and his patent-pending lightweight composite panel system makes assembly quick and easy.
“The shelter is simple, lightweight and portable. Traditional materials and methods have historically shown significant weakness, being complex and requiring skilled labor to assemble, being extremely heavy, nearly all of them necessitate additional erection equipment and they’re costly in relation to energy consumption and transport and logistics.” – Peter Anthony
Anthony’s design is adaptable to many situations, ranging from emergency sheltering to mobile treatment stations. The applications of the portable shelter are only limited by the imagination. Its lightweight and folding design allow it to be airdropped into remote locations that are in need. Anthony is still working on the project, hoping to expand and make it better by adding a self-contained dry toilet. When it is completed, it will surely be one of the best portable emergency housing systems created to date.
There has been a huge surge in the market for disaster relief products after the world has experienced so many natural disasters in the recent years. One Canadian design firm has created a cheap and affordable portable shelter product that can help create personal space for those affected by a natural disaster.
The design firm Molo has created the “softshelter” to provide disaster victims with their own personal space when living in temporary relief centers. To demonstrate the practicality of the system and refine it, one Molo team member has camped out in a softshelter module for several weeks.
The portable shelter is made from 100 percent recycled materials and is designed for re-use over a long period of time. The flexible walls pack flat, allowing for easy, fast, and cost effective shipping. The design also allows for quick setup to create walls and rooms anywhere. The softwall quickly and easily expands to create four walls, and the end panels are connected magnetically to each other.
One of the main focuses of Molo for this product was to make the space seem personal and provide comfort in a time of disaster. Molo added a few features to the softshelter, like:
• A magnetic clipping system for pictures
• Flower vase
• Tyvek hanger
• LED light
Small touches like those give the softshelter that personal touch that can help ease a disaster victim’s mind. By giving the victims their own spaces, they will not have to sleep on a cot next to a bunch of other people. Inexpensive and easy to set-up, the softshelter is a great tool for victims of a natural disaster.