Architectural Studies

Faculty Advisor

McDonald, Shannon S.


Hurricanes, forest fires, floods, and avalanches are only a few of the natural disasters that can devastate cities, communities, and families. Too often the individuals that have endured these catastrophes have nowhere to go. As traveling out of the area may not be possible, they are often crowded into shelters or given inferior, substandard housing. These living conditions are far from ideal, and what was initially presented as a housing solution for a week or two can quickly turn into a harsh reality for several months or more.

Why not provide better housing solutions during these trying times? The answer to this question is extremely complex. Companies and organizations producing and distributing temporary shelters have their own set of challenges when attempting to provide aid. They are faced with finding solutions to problems such as: How can we construct and distribute shelters quickly and efficiently? How do we provide electricity, clean water, and thermal comfort in very different habitats? And, how can we construct an economical, mass produced unit that could serve as a comfortable temporary home for these survivors over an extended period of time.

This project seeks to merge the two perspectives, that of the devastated community and that of the supporting organization, into one successful solution. A prefabricated unit capable of being a passive, self sustaining home in any climate, could be a viable solution. The key goal of this shelter is to create a home that minimizes the need for active systems, such as electricity, air conditioning, and heating, through the manipulation of materials and passive design. If achieved, the shelter would provide a comfortable living environment for those affected by natural disaster for a extended period of time while being sensitive to the practical concerns of the organizations contributing aid.