In light of January's Haiti earthquake, design site Core 77 launched a contest challenging designers to conceive of innovative ideas for short-term shelters. Core 77 is accepting submissions through February 28, and will donate $500 going to Architecture for Humanity's Haiti Earthquake Support Program in the name of the winner. Here are some of the ideas submitted so far.
Canadian designer Richard Kuchinsky found inspiration for his balloon-tent pop-up shelter in the Dymaxion housing concept by Buckminster Fuller.
Kuchinsky envisions a sort of floating tent that could be dropped from a helicopter (or deployed from land) and kept aloft by balloons with computer controlled rotors that keep the shelter in place.
The tent could be moved as needed, and it could even have graphic markings to help identify triage wards, groups, organizations, or families and could easily be seen from air and land.
Steve Boynton looked to the design of the American Indian teepee for its "durability, portability, and responsible use of natural resources." His units could be set up alone or combined to form multiroom living spaces. If needed, different weather-resistant, breathable "skins" could be used to indicate a structure's particular function (first aid, water, and so on).
A student from the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning came up with an idea for a modular crate that could hold first aid kits, blankets, and other essentials in each of its sides. The box locks back together for storage and transportation.
This shelter could be used on ground or water in earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, the designer says. It's an inner tube, of sorts, that could hold about four people. Lifting a support rod would uncoil a tent to function as a roof, while the corners of tube would serve as a back support cushion.
During floods, the inflatables could be dropped from helicopters, with refugees using them as rafts.
One of the more unusual ideas: inflatable shelters stored inside mock-ups of real bombs that could fit inside a military bomber ("so these planes might help people instead of killing them," the Belgian designer suggests.)