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  • 10.15.13

This Amazing House Can Be Built Just 5 Hours After A Disaster

When the earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis of the future strike, these shelters–cut entirely from fiber board and super easy to assemble–could save us.

This Amazing House Can Be Built Just 5 Hours After A Disaster

With a fifth of their population below sea level, the Dutch have historically been ahead of the curve when it comes to planning for ecological disasters. A new project from Dutch designer Pieter Stoutjesdijk takes that efficiency one step further, with an emergency shelter that can be built in a mere five hours.

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After Haiti’s devastating earthquake leveled homes and put 1.5 million people in tent city slums, Stoutjesdik went to work designing a shelter for Villa Rosa, a camp southeast of Port-au-Prince. He came up with a large fluted roof that can collect rainwater, a porch, high ceilings, and a system of mirrors that combine sunlight and water to create steam.

The whole thing can be cut out of fiber board by a milling machine, thanks to a process called Computer Numerical Control that turns CAD designs into X, Y, and Z coordinates.The design requires no nuts or bolts to assemble its nearly 2,500 disparate parts–like K’Nex, builders can simply fit the pieces together.

According to Pop Up City, Stroutjesdijk’s open-source design is being tested in 25,000 dwellings in Rwanda. We’ve seen some other exciting post-disaster shelters crop up in response to Haiti’s earthquake, but this is one of the winners of the superlative contest for speed. In a world where we can expect increasingly frequent natural disasters, we’re probably going to need it.

About the author

Sydney Brownstone is a Seattle-based former staff writer at Co.Exist. She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with windows that don’t quite open, and covers environment, health, and data.

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