When aid groups need to house refugees or disaster survivors in a hurry, they normally put up tents. They’re cheap to transport, quick to mount, and good in most situations.
Except, of course, if there’s a second disaster, as there was in Haiti following its earthquakes. When Hurricane Sandy hit the island in October 2012, it wiped out many of the tents that had been set up there, leaving people homeless once more.
The disasters-come-in-twos scenario is the impetus behind the Hush2, a relief house that’s hurricane proof, according to its inventors. The flat-pack home comes in two modes. The first is a standard square building with a pitched roof and windows. The second in a “triangular prism” that lies flatter to the ground.
“The product was invented in response to the Haiti disaster in 2010, when families were put into tents and then were quickly blown away again,” says Julia Glenn, CEO of Extremis Technology, the British company behind the design.
The Hush2 comes in one piece and fits together with hinges and bolts. No screws or tools are needed. Glenn says you can put it up in two hours, complete with a base and anchor system in four corners.
You move into disaster mode by folding down two diagonal flats at the side and collapsing the roof and walls in on themselves. See the video above. The triangle has been tested in a wind tunnel and found to work–though it hasn’t completed a ballistics test first (when you throw heavy objects at something).
Glenn says it’s not as cheap as a tent, but it is more secure. “It doesn’t require foundations, so you’ve got the cost- effectiveness not having to ship concrete. Of course, a tent doesn’t require foundations either, but it doesn’t give you any security.”