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.
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.