Solar powered refugee shelters
COLLAPSIBLE STRUCTURE IS A PORTABLE SHELTER WITH WATER AND ELECTRICITY
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Published: 4 April 2014
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
Jordanian-Canadian architect and designer, Abeer Seikaly, has designed a new kind of shelter for refugees and the millions of people seeking shelter across the world.
The outer skin absorbs solar energy that is then converted into usable electricity, while the inner skin provides pockets for storage. A water tank on the top of the tent allows people to take quick showers; water rises to the storage tank via thermosiphoning and a drainage system ensures the tent doesn’t flood.
Thanks to the shelter’s woven fabric, it can expand into a private enclosure and contract ‘for mobility’. This structured material mirrors the ancient traditions of creating complex three-dimensional shapes from joined linear fibres. The pattern creates flexible envelopes that fold across a central axis and the hollow skin acts like a typical stud wall, allowing water and electricity to run through the hollow skin.
‘Refugees seeking shelter from disasters carry from their homes what they can and resettle in unknown lands, often starting with nothing but a tent to call home.’
Abeer Seikaly, designer
In her design brief for ‘Weaving a Home’, Abeer Seikaly says, ‘Human life throughout history has developed in alternating waves of migration and settlement. The movement of people across the earth led to the discovery of new territories as well as the creation of new communities among strangers forming towns, cities and nations. Navigating this duality between exploration and settlement, movement and stillness is a fundamental essence of what it means to be human.
‘In the aftermath of global wars and natural disasters, the world has witnessed the displacement of millions of people across continents. Refugees seeking shelter from disasters carry from their homes what they can and resettle in unknown lands, often starting with nothing but a tent to call home. “Weaving a home” reexamines the traditional architectural concept of tent shelters by creating a technical, structural fabric that expands to enclose and contracts for mobility while providing the comforts of contemporary life (heat, running water, electricity, storage, etc.).
‘Design is supposed to give form to a gap in people’s needs. This lightweight, mobile, structural fabric could potentially close the gap between need and desire as people metaphorically weave their lives back together, physically weaving their built environment into a place both new and familiar, transient and rooted, private and connected. In this space, the refugees find a place to pause from their turbulent worlds, a place to weave the tapestry of their new lives. They weave their shelter into home.’