advertisement
advertisement

Wacky Cardboard Homeless Shelters Fold Out Like Origami

Fold a thousand, make a wish?

advertisement
advertisement

Origami has inspired countless gadgets: bicycles, MP3 players, and now, homeless shelters?

advertisement
advertisement

Sounds like a gimmick, but yeah. Tina Hovsepian, a recent grad of USC’s architecture school, has invented a cardboard shelter that pops up like an origami balloon. A repeating diamond shape in the walls keeps the structure stiff. When it’s time to move, the shelter folds flat, making it easy to cart around. She calls it — wait for it! — Cardborigami.

[Hovsepian field-tested the shelter on Skid Row in downtown L.A.]

A glorified cardboard box? Sure. The idea, though, is to make the shelters (which can also be deployed in disaster situations) waterproof and fire-resistant so they hold together better than something you’d find in the parking lot of Office Depot. At the moment, she’s testing a treatment made of a non-toxic by-product of sugarcane.

advertisement

Hovsepian first created the structure in her fourth year at USC. Of course, she isn’t the first young designer to turn a hand to housing the homeless. A bunch of students at MIT made shelters out of recycled junk they found in and around Cambridge a few years back. And in L.A., Eric Lindeman and Jason Zasa designed EDAR, a shopping cart that converts into a tent, when they were students at the Art Center in Pasadena. Hovsepian’s project is different because, if all goes according to plan, it can be mass produced for a pittance. Visit www.cardborigami.org for more information.

advertisement

[A reader just informed us about a similar project called SHELLHOUSE that pre-dates Cardborigami. Read about it here. Thanks, Daniel!–Eds]

[Via the Architect’s Newspaper; images courtesy of Tina Hovsepian]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D

More