Out of Failure

Disaster Relief Shelters

Following hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, it became obvious that cities should have some type of emergency response shelters to either assist those displaced from their homes with supplies, or to offer shelter entirely.  After looking at FEMA shelters for precedent, my team decided to take on a more digital-intensive design approach.  Motivated by activity and human scale in section, the form required CNC milling to construct. Different scenario examinations resulted in the form, an undulating roof made of ribs, with the footprint of a parking spot. 


Exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, the project was very well received.  This project was completed with the help of my team, Reuben Alt and August Miller, as well as professors of architecture Brian Davies and Stephen Slaughter at the University of Cincinnati.

The shelter was driven "flat-packed" in a white cargo van from Cincinnati and assembled at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in NYC by two people in two hours.
Early Rhino perspective rendering of project.
Early Rhino rendering, elevation.
Early Rhino rendering, plan view.
1/8" = 1' laser-cut study model.
1/8" = 1' laser-cut study model.
Early rendering studies of butting two units together.  Also elevation studies showing human scale and unit use in section and elevation.
Assembly diagram.
Rendering of two shelters in Manhattan.
Rendering of shelters on Vine St. near downtown Cincinnati.
Rendering showing shelters in use as a distribution center for water, rations, and supplies.
Assembled shelter at ICFF.
The ribs interlock with base pieces to form the frame.
This is the shelter before secondary ribs and decking were installed at the trial assembly in Cincinnati.
The ribs and secondary ribs are added here.  The wood decking is yet to be installed.  The secondary furniture structure was necessary to give the unit more lateral stability.
This is a picture of the almost complete unit at the trial assembly.
Primary ribs are constructed from eight pieces of CNC-milled plywood, four straight runs and four corners.  The corners at the top of the ribs are unique and create the roof's undulation. 
Interior shot at ICFF showing the shelter in use.
The room undulates as the pitch of the roof changes rib to rib.