Innovation That Matters

Sustainable disaster shelters

Disaster shelters for refugees mix traditional nomadic design with sustainable technology

Sport & Fitness

‘Weaving a Home’ are ultra-light, self-sufficient, temporary yurts designed to help those forced from their homes by climate change.

According to the UN, there will be an estimated 250 million climate refugees by 2050. Increasingly, large populations are being forced to migrate because of violent floods, water points drying up and other natural disasters caused by the effects of global warming. Now, a Jordanian architect has designed a disaster shelter for refugees that is based on temporary huts of nomadic tribes.

Designed by Jordanian and Canadian architect Abeer Seikaly, and shortlisted for the LEXUS design award, ‘Weaving a Home’ is a tent-like shelter that provides easily transportable, temporary shelters, allowing migrants to be self sufficient. The structure is composed of durable plastic, fabric tubes that are threaded to form a singular unit and arranged into a 2m high dome. The joining of two layers of fabric creates a structure that mimics snake scales. There are various interesting technical features. Exposure to the surrounding elements can be controlled by manipulating the units. Elements can be opened or closed, to allow for air flow or prevent heat from escaping. The outer solar-powered skin absorbs solar energy that is then converted into usable electricity, while the inner skin provides pockets for storage. And a water storage tank on the top of the tent allows people to take quick showers. Water rises to the storage tank via a thermosiphoning system and a drainage system ensures that the tent is not flooded. Of her design, Seikaly explains, “Navigating (the) duality between exploration and settlement, movement and stillness is a fundamental essence of what it means to be human.”

Springwise has seen a number of temporary shelter designs that respond to the need for disaster housing, including this flatpack shelter that collects rainwater and natural light, and can collapse down to a height of just 31 cm. What other innovative concepts could support populations affected by climate change?




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