Links to major portable, transitional, emergency and disaster shelters.
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Emergency and Temporary Shelters
Last updated March 27 2009 Last Link Check 17 May 2006
Often called transitional, temporary, portable or disaster relief architecture, shelter, homes or
housing, this page gives those searching the topic an initial head start by providing links to
the world of emergency shelters. Included here are structures made basically from one
or more of the following - paper, cardboard, plastic, fabric, metals, wood, concrete from basic on site
construction to prefabricated units.
Introduction return to index
Emergency shelters should have the following attributes:
As stated by Dr. J. Richard Gorham on the evolution of temporary
shelters at the 9th Annual World Conference on Disaster Management,
"The ideal shelter would be inexpensive, waterproof, easy
to assemble, environmentally friendly, easy to transport, easy to stockpile, easy to disassemble, fire resistant, UV light resistant, provide good insulation against the elements, made of sturdy fabric, and wind resistant" as described in
This is merely the beginning of a page on transitional and emergency and mainly portable shelters most of which are available and many of which have been used in various disaster or emergency situations worldwide. Any additions to this page are welcome. Please contact us.
Descriptions of each shelter below is completed using quotes from references cited. While making up a majority of emergency shelters worldwide, tents are not listed here at the present time.
Name: Cal-Earth Temporary Shelter Home
Materials: sandbags, barbed wire, locally available bag filler
Size: Variable depending on design at site
"The basic construction technique involves filling sandbags with earth [dirt with lime or cement to strengthen, or packed dirt, or snow(experimental) and laying them in courses in a circular plan. The circular courses are corbelled near the top to form a dome. Barbed wire is laid between courses to prevent the sandbags from shifting and to provide earthquake resistance."
Instructions: Emergency sandbag shelter (PDF) (first draft training guide)
basic steps in building shelter
"summary of 150 page Emergency Shelter chapter as part of architect Nader Khalili's comprehensive manual on Superadobe - Sandbag Shelter"
Protection from elements: general very good
Cost: Only for sandbags and barbed wire
Designer(s):Architect Nader Khalili
Producer(s): Cal-Earth (The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture) nonprofit foundation
See Books on Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture
Name: Paper House and Paper Emergency Shelters
Materials as used in: Kobe: structural paper tube walls, beer crate footings
and canvas roofs/ Turkey: Recycled paper tube houses with plastic roofs, erected close to the former homes of earthquake victims / India. Paper tube technology used in conjunction with local building technology (thatch roof) / Rwanda: Paper tube frame and UN plastic sheets provide an immediate and simple shelter
Elements Protection: adapting the shelter from a milder Japanese climate to a cooler European climate. Paper tubes are bound together with double sided tape and coated to provide water resistance.
Extendible: After building, cannot be readily adapted to different sized families and functions
Adaptable: Family, school demonstrating how one system of paper construction can be adapted to varying climates, cultures and programs.
Designer(s): Shigeru Ban
Contact: Tokyo@ShigeruBanArchitects.com Shigeru Ban firstname.lastname@example.org
3D modelling of paper house Paper Emergency Shelters for UNHCR, 1999
Photos of structures by Shigeru Ban
The paper house report thepaperhouse.net
Excellent discussion of what it means to be homeless.
Photos courtesy of GreenHomeBuilding.com
Name: Greenhousebuilding.com Emergency Shelter
Materials: sandbags, different fillers
Elements Protection: Depending on
Building time: 90 hours, not including plastering. For example, this structure could be finished by 5 unskilled workers working 6 hours a day for 3 days
Building Technique: This design incorporates a round, earthbag structure partially inset into the ground. Rice bags or sandbags are filled with local soil and tamped in place to create the walls. The roof is built with poles salvaged from destroyed buildings, covered with straw, grass, leaves or whatever is available, covered with plastic sheeting or tarps, and anchored with earth to hold in place.
Discusses at length the use of different fillers for sandbags including sand(not recommended), lightweight volcanic rock such as scoria, rice hulls.
See reference for building options and changing temporary shelter into safer, permanent housing.
Cost: Approximately $100 US plus barbed wire, and tarps or plastic sheeting. This assumes salvaged doors, windows, woodstove, stove pipe, etc.
Designer(s): Kelly Hart, host of www.GreenHomeBuilding.com and Dr. Owen
Geiger of www.grisb.org developed a hybrid of the idea for the use of earthbags by
architect Nader Khalili of the Cal-Earth Institute; they came up with this design in
response to a plea from aid agencies operating in Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake there.
links to supply vendors including others who have experimented with the structure
Information on Earthbags
making a small, permanent earthbag dome
Name: The Dymax Emergency Shelter
Materials: "When assembled, the shelter is a self-supporting tensile structure using standard, reusable PVC pipes and specially designed clip connectors to create a quonset-shaped shelter to house a family...
"Inside the bundle is a waterproof and flame retardant sheet measuring ~25’ x 25’ that serves as the inner canopy of the structure. Specially designed connectors for the PVC struts are pre-attached in a diamond pattern on the inner canopy sheet. The recipients connect the PVC pipe struts to the connectors. Once the initial structure is complete, the OFDA-supplied UV-resistant heavy gauge plastic sheeting is pulled over the top and attached."
Shelter canopy 24 ft x 11 ft x 8.5 ft. with clip-connector assemblies pre-attached to the heavy-gauge, UV-resistant, flame-retardant OFDA sheeting (Protect L5000 UV/FR). Doors and floors are optional"
Transportable: can be carried by one person
Size: 18” x 60” bundle weighing 75 lb.
Elements Protection: versatile in that it can be acclimated to different weather and climatic conditions. Strong, insulated, weatherproof, fire retardant self-supporting shelter, UV-resistant, waterproof and flame retardant.
Cost: $200 per unit
Building time: Within 30 minutes of opening the kit, the shelter is ready for use
Instructions: Nonverbal Diagrams
Producer(s): Buckminster Fuller Institute
On Hand/Production Schedule:
Additional Information: World Shelters
Name: Global Village Shelter
Materials: "...comprised of two parts; the base and the roof. Both parts are made with a triple-wall corrugated laminate, Tri-Wall, that is treated with both a water repellant coating and a Class B fire retardant.
Transportable: The unit is collapsible which unfolds and locks into place and is very easy to assemble. the Global Village Shelter can withstand all types of damage during shipping, always leaving the unit ready for use in many applications.
Size: The shelter weighs 170 pounds (77.3 kg).
"In shipping mode each module is approximately 8" inches wide. The compact form allows for many units to be shipped as cargo (ground or sea) and/ or to be air dropped into a location. Due to its' durability,
Elements Protection: The corrugated is extremely durable and weather resistant, allowing the Global Village Shelter to be used in all climates."
white color keeps shelter cool in desert conditions, withstands 80mph winds and torrential rains, high burst strength, fire retardant, Treated corrugated is 5/8" thick providing superior insulation in cold climates,
all junctures sealed to keep moisture out and prohibits insects, vermin, etc. from entering.
The shelter has a footprint of 6.25 square meters (67 square feet) with an interior height of 7.5 feet (max) and 5.1 feet (min.).
Building time: Easily assembled by two people in 15 to 20 minutes
Instructions: Simple to assemble assembly guide
Designer(s): President: Daniel A Ferrara, Jr. - Vice Pres.: Ms. Mia Y Ferrara
Producer(s): Weyerhaeuser Company in conjunction with Global Village Shelters, LLC.
Global Village Structure
Pneumatic Emergency Facilities
Transportable: airfreight (standard ISO containers)
Elements Protection: Interior climate controllable from heating to freezing, Full weather protection, withstand 60+ mph winds, snow loads up to 18", lighting system and power supplies can be suspended from ceiling, opaque to RF energy at GHz and below (military and defense), exceeds fire codes worldwide. Optional external Mylar coating reduces interior temperature rise in hot climates.
Extendible: optional internal partitions
Adaptable: Uses: Temporary housing, emergency shelter, temperature controlled environment medical, storage, decontamination facilities
Producer(s): ITEK - USA, Inc.
On Hand/Production Schedule:
Name: Rion Professional Greenhouse
Materials: Available with Safety Polycarbonate on the roof and Polycarbonate or Acrylic on the sidings - supplied with roof vents as standard.
Transportable: The greenhouse is usually shipped via UPS in 3 or more boxes..."
Size: 8'6'' wide, available in several lengths
Elements Protection: Europe's standards are higher than those in the US, and the TUV Europe testing lab which is equivalent to UL has tested the product and certified it as being strong and safe..."
We do know from customers that the units have withstood wind gusts of up to 80 mph winds without damage..."
The snow load capacity is roughly 1,100 lbs. We have seen them with as much as 23" of snow...
Building time: Easy to assemble and safe
Instructions: Manuals, System Demos and Information
Recyclable: Use of materials friendly to the environment, maximal neutralization/recycling of by-products emitted by production processes
Producer(s): Rion Professional Greenhouse
Representatives: Representatives U.S., U.K., Europe, Italy, Australia, Israel
On Hand/Production Schedule:
Name: Migrant Worker Shelter
Materials: made from Kraft paper bonded to a polyurethane core formed into pleated
shapes. Being both folded plate
and an arch, the structures was light but highly rigid."
Transportable: The design adopts origami principles of folding that allows the shelter to be compressed
and folded into a compact size that is easily transportable. The 3mm corrugated tunnel
polypropylene utilized for its construction also renders the shelter relatively lightweight."
Elements Protection: The shelters were to last for a maximum of five years, and be environmentally responsive to the intense heat and high winds of the California Central Valley and surrounding rural areas.
Adaptable: Designed especially for use in emergency relief settings to provide immediate,
Designer(s): Shelter designed by Herbert Yates
Producer(s): Hirshen Van der Ryn with associates
Use for migrant camps extensively in California - projects developed by Hirshen Van der Ryn Architects received the First Governors Design Award (1966), National Honour Award American Institute of Architects (AIA) (1968)
Photos courtesy of BiniSystems
House erected in 60 minutes Courtesy of BiniSystems
Name: The New BiniShelter Construction System
Materials: The BiniShelter automated construction method uses 8 pre-fabricated, mass-produced structural components made of any locally available materials. The 8 components (4 walls+4 Roofs) and fixtures can be designed with any number of diverse structural and/or building materials (wood, concrete, steel, reinforced clay, durock, sheetrock, concrete, bricks, bamboo and any combination of the above) depending on locally available and traditionally used materials.
Any application of the BiniShelter construction systems, (even if it may b considered "temporary") must be approved by local authorities. Its structural complex must be designed by a responsible local structural engineer or architect in accordance with local codes, regulations and customs.
Portability: All 8 basic components (4 walls+4 Roofs) are easily portable from the factory where they are mass produced to the job site. (In extreme conditions, the materials can even be produced on site.)
Size: A basic suggested size is 600 sq.ft. BiniShelters are modular so two or more of them can easily be combined. A two story building can be engineered if so required.
Protection from the Elements: Any traditional and locally available waterproofing/insulating materials may be used for protection from the elements.
Cost: If the 8 basic components are built in a local factory, the cost can be minimal and will depend only on the material used or requested. The central special pneumatic lifting equipment (Pumping Station) is the only piece of equipment must be purchased. It is easy to transport from site to site and it can be used hundreds of times. For each BiniShelter, it is only in operation for 60 minutes, so the related cost per shelter is negligible.
Building time: The lifting equipment (the Pumping Station along with the "Pneumoform") is easily and quickly deployed on a prefabricated reinforced concrete slab or over a flat asphalt surface or even over a structurally engineered deck. The 8 basic components are assembled over the "Pneumoform" and the self-erecting, 60 minute BiniShelter is lifted with the flick of a switch. The BiniShelter automated construction s stem has been developed for immediate implementation under the most adverse conditions and it has been designed to require just a minimal amount of energy and manpower. Essentially, only a supervisor with only 3 skilled laborers are needed to erect a BiniShelter. No building contractor is necessary. With the insertion of special structural components, the BiniShelter is immediately structurally self-supporting and ready for use.
Instructions: A construction manual will be made available under negotiated conditions.
Applications: International Emergency Relief Shelters, Affordable Housing Markets and School Programs world wide.
Adaptability: The BiniShelter floor plan is totally flexible: the insides of an empty (but completely finished and waterproofed) shelter can be easily customized to meet the needs of any person(s), family or school and to meet any local regulations.
Recyclable: The BiniShelter can be disassembled, removed and rebuilt elsewhere.
Designer(s): Dr. Dante N Bini, Architect
Producer(s): Anyone can obtain a license to use the patented BiniShelter system.
Movable, Self Erecting Shelter
Name: Ecoshell - The Monolithic Dome Institute
Materials: The Ecoshell is simply a reinforced concrete structured formed by what we call an Airform. We create a circular foundation, attach an Airform and then cover it with layers of rebar and concrete. It is the simplest of all structures to build providing you have a fan (like a vacuum cleaner fan) to inflate the Airform.
Building Technique: This building can be built very nicely with two inches of concrete and a modest amount of rebar. The compound curve of the dome makes it stronger than virtually any other structure. The Ecoshell is so simple. It just takes the Airform to make it happen. People can be trained in a matter of hours to build EcoShells. They can be built 100% by hand. The concrete can be mixed and applied by hand. No special tools are required.
Instructions: How To Build an Ecoshell with download of free construction manual.
Also ee: Introducing the Eggshell II
Protection from Elements:
An Ecoshell is as disaster proof as a building can get. It will withstand tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and fire. It cannot be burned. It will last for centuries.
Applications: Benefactors needed. There are already several projects underway and completed where benefactors have introduced the Ecoshells. There are ongoing projects in Haiti, Kenya, India, and others in Bolivia and Mongolia and many more on the horizon.
Non-Profit Projects and Housing in Emerging Countries
Cost: The Airform for a twenty-eight square meter home costs about three thousand dollars including the inflator fan. At least one hundred homes can be built using one Airform. This means the forming cost of the structure is not more than thirty dollars per building. The cost of rebar and concrete is generally less than six hundred dollars for the floor, walls and roof system (i.e. the Ecoshell dome).
Designer(s): David B. Smith Co-inventor
Producer(s): The Monolithic Dome Institute
A Foam Dome Home
Tsunamis -- Rebuilding Better After Disasters
Name: ICOSA Pod Housing
All-plastic construction (no rot)
Building Technique: Light & bright with full-headroom
Rigid door & translucent windows
6"-thick, double-walled construction
Instructions: Assemble on flat ground without platform.
Power tools not required though hot-glue gun accelerates assembly
Building time: One day assembly: IcoPod 3-4 people, DecaPod 8-10 people
Protection from Elements: Multi-year performance, 100% waterproof, Insect-proof vents, Wind & earthquake proof
Adaptable: Optional clear windows & platform, locally manufacturable
Applications: Developed, refined, tested and deployed more than 100 times over four years,
Icosa Village Pods provide affordable, dignified 4-season, multi-year, semi-permanent
Recyclable: Safe, environmentally inert, recyclable materials
Cost: In support of Tsunami reconstruction efforts, volume orders bring prices as low as $1,175 for a standard 108 sq. ft. (33 m2) IcoPod (adequate for 2 adults & 1-2 children), and $2,698 for our 472 square foot (144 m2) DecaPods (large enough to comfortably sleep 12)."
Producer(s): Icosa Village
Pod Product Backgrounder.pdf
Tsunami Reconstruction: Pod Housing ICOSA
Name: Reinforced Concrete Monolithic Shell - Isha Foundation
Materials: Built of reinforced concrete
Size: 15' X 15' floor space,
Building Technique: 4" thick concrete shell, 5" thick plinth & floor
"Compris[ed] of a semi-cylindrical concrete shell built in-situ on a 5.5 inch slab that
forms the plinth and the foundation atop sand, the home provides 225 sq.ft of floor
space available for internal partitioning. The floor slab and the shell are cast
monolithically. The floor slab transfers the load of the structure to the sand
underneath and thereby functions as the foundation."
Monolithic cast, 15' maximum height, weighs 17 tons
Building time: A dwelling can be cast every 24 hours per mould which can be used more than 100 times.
Ready for occupation in 3-4 weeks.
Executed by a trained mason with locally available labor
transported using a 25 ton crane.
Protection from Elements: Fire proof: fires can be lit inside or nearby to cook their food.
Cyclone proof: Aerodynamic shape can withstand a cyclone or gale force winds
Tsunami proof: shape of the house causes a large wave to pass over. Therefore can be set up coast to coast.
Adaptable: Durable: life span of 75-100 years
Cost: Mould Cost Rs. 45,000/ $1,059 per mould,
Mould Mobilization Cost Rs. 7,000/ $165 per transport,
Dwelling Unit Cost Rs.79,885/ $1,880 per unit
Designer(s): Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Founder of Isha Foundation
Producer(s): Isha Foundation's Action For Rural Rejuvenation Project
Contact: email@example.com India. Overseas centers in U.S. Germany, Lebanon, Canada
Additional Comments: housing unit ideally suited for
tsunami rehabilitation in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu. Construction of model rehabilitation village.
"Supplementing the dwelling design is a village plan. Each village plan includes a market square, community
hall, recreation areas, school, health and medical care units, weather warning system,
and sanitary toilet facilities."
Innovative Housing for Tsunami Rehabilitation Action for Rural Rejuvenation Isna Foundation
Name: Aluminum zinc-roofed homes built for UNHCR by Rural Development Foundation
Materials: Built on brick foundations. ...Two partitioned rooms built
within a galvanized iron frame, and are compliant with the internationally recognized
SPHERE standards for a family of five persons. The brick foundation provides a firm,
impregnable base, with plywood upper walls.
The roofs are made of zinc aluminum which does not conduct heat to the same degree as
cheaper roofing options, creating a more comfortable living environment. All new homes
will have a lockable window and door.
Size: The temporary homes, (measuring 12 x 16 feet)
Protection from Elements:
Adaptable: Can be tailored to suit the needs of the homeowners.
For example, they can be painted or have ceilings installed. Assembled from a
standard package of equipment, the shelters are specifically designed to ensure
there is no wastage of materials. And, the shelters can be disassembled and
reassembled in another location if necessary
Available/Production Schedule: When the final design
is ready, the planned temporary homes will be built at the rate of 500 a month. UNHCR
has pledged to build a further 1,500 houses if needed.
Producer(s): The new temporary homes have been built by UNHCR's partner the Rural Development
Foundation (RDF), with water and sanitation provided by UNICEF
UNHCR is also working on transitional shelter projects in Ampara and in Jaffna,
where it recently completed 210 temporary homes outside Manikadu town. A future
transitional shelter project is planned for Trincomalee. Overall, UNHCR plans 6,200
[corrected from 6,500 April 12] temporary homes for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.
Photo courtesy of Peter Ryan
Name: Temporary Shelter -The Portable Building Unit pbu/ PerArchitects
Materials: "cardboard and plywood portal frame structure wrapped in an outer skin of overlapping high-density corrugated cardboard panels.
Floors can be a combination of plywood and 50-millimetre corrugated cardboard sandwich panels fixed to timber beams and joists sitting on off-the-rack steel spikes driven into the ground as footings. The exterior envelope is treated with waterproofing and fire-retardant paint. Depending on local climatic conditions, the end walls of each module can be left open or in-filled with 50 millimetre corrugated cardboard panels. Tarpaulins can be thrown over the entire structure for added weatherproofing."
Transportable: Light weight and demountable flatpack cardboard shelter.
Ten 3 module units can be pre packed in one 20 foot shipping container.
Size: prototypes vary in size according to their purpose.
The standard module is 3 metres wide x 3 metres high x 1.5 metres in length and you
can add the modules together
Elements Protection: The water resistant
coated cardboard exterior can be further protected with corrugated polycarbonate
sheets or recycled tarpaulins.
Cost: "Four modules, each measuring 1.5 metres by 3 metres by 3 metres, are required to provide liveable short term shelter for a family. Each module costs $1500 to manufacture."
Building time: "...minimal skill levels and tools for assembly
quickly assembled and removal for relocation." "And it's easy to assemble; two people with minimal experience could erect a four-module shelter in less than a day."
Instructions: All you need is someone who can use a cordless drill and read an instruction sheet."
Designer(s): Melbourne architect Peter Ryan, PerArchitects
Producer(s): "Packaging and recycling giant Visy Industries is investigating the logistics of manufacturing and supplying the shelters to relief organisations in the US..."
"Could produce 3000 modules of the shelters within three or four weeks of receiving a firm order."
Available/Production Schedule: Frank Bradley from Visyboard "In a full production situation we could produce several thousand
panels per hour. For an emergency housing situation with very short notice we could
produce an entire village and have it flown to anywhere in the world in a couple of days.
Additional Information: The pbu/ concept presents an opportunity for sustainable and environmentally responsible delivery of temporary and short to medium term buildings with minimal impact
Contact: PER Architects Peter Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Katrina Shelter Solution in a Box?
Canberrabiennial Case Studies of 12 emergency shelters
Canberra Biennial Exhibition Additional designs of sheltrs in the biennial competition.
Name: Spherical Plastic Thermal Shelter
Materials: Semi-spherical tent is made of thick plastic laid over a frame of standard water pipes
and lined with ordinary blankets.
Elements Protection: Mud is banked up around the shelter to prevent water from seeping inside and a simple
drain pipe can be laid under it for sanitation. The shape offers less resistance to
strong winds and allows snow to slide easily off the top, Kapoor said.
Inside, extra warmth can come from a "bukhari," a simple, traditional stove, and a
"kangri," the small coal burner that Kashmiris slip under their robes in winter. Both
emit smoke but no flames.
Cost: 12 by 12 feet (3.6 meters)
Building time: We pick up material from the local market and in
three hours it is up," says Sarabjit Singh Sahota, an Indian architect who adapted the
prototype for use on the Indian subcontinent.
Three people, or two strong men, can assemble the shelter, which costs a maximum of 7000
Designer(s): Developed in 1999 by an England-based group, Shelter Project,
which conducted tests in cold storage warehouses, car factory wind tunnels, Britain's
open fields and via computer modeling.
Oxfam United Kingdom deployed the shelters in Kosovo and they were modified in India,
where the aid group put up a model on the grounds of the Srinagar Youth Hostel and gave
demonstrations to villagers, other aid agencies and the government receiving what
Kapoor says was a very positive response.
Oxfam is also working on the shelter project in Pakistan.
On Hand/Production Schedule:
Quake-ravaged regions of disputed Kashmir offers hope for some of the more than
2 million homeless facing a bitter winter in wake of South Asia's earthquake.
Oxfam press release
Aljazeera.net press release
Name: Straw Bale Emergency Shelter
Materials: List of Materials/Specialty Tools:
"bale needle" (optional), twine, 9 pallets, 40" x 48", flooring material, window (or plastic sheeting), door, (1) - 3" x 5' lintel, (7) - 2" to 4" x 12' roof poles, branches or bamboo,
fabric or plastic sheeting, tarp: approximately 13' x 15'
Size: - Exterior dimensions: approximately 10-1/2' x 12' = 126 sq. ft.
- Interior dimensions: approximately 7-1/2' x 9' = 68 sq. ft.
Building Technique: Plans based on two-string bales of approximately 15" x 18" x 36"-38"
Stack bales on pallets, add spaces between pallets if necessary to match size of bales, gaps around the edges can be sealed with earth and/or stone.
Six rows of 15" high bales = 90" interior height.
This shelter can be easily upgraded to a permanent shelter by adding plaster, a more durable roof, and other improvements.
Instructions: For more instructions and alternative options
Also see leading how-to straw-bale construction guide, Build it With Bales by Matts Myhrman and S.O. MacDonald
Protection from Elements:
Adaptable: This shelter should be modified to meet local needs. For example, increase the roof overhang in rainy climates.
Cost: $300 - $350 US$
Contact: Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building
Crestone, Colorado Email: email@example.com
straw bale construction
free straw bale emergency shelter plans
Name: Fabric Shelter - EMPAC International Relief Inc
Materials: Entrance: The shelter can be entered and exited through
a zippered entrance or a solid door which can access larger objects such as a hospital
stretcher. There is also a zippered emergency exit at the rear of the shelter.
Anchoring System: Two different types of anchoring systems can be
used depending on ground cover utilizing a frame around the base permitting the attachment of earth anchors, or anchor bolts if a concrete base is used.
Fabric Material: The material used in our standard shelter consists of high
performance vinyl or polyester fabric, which contains a urethane coating with flame
retardant and ultra violet resistance properties. The seams and joints required
in manufacturing the shelter are either welded or stitched. If welded, they are
expected to be at least as strong as the fabric itself. The joints at the base where
the anchoring system is attached are double stitched.
Framing System: To maintain a half cylinder shape, a light weight framing system
Size: The dimensions of the standard emergency shelter come in three sizes: 1) 15 ft. wide by 20 ft. long. 2) 15 ft. wide by 30 ft. long, and 3) 15 ft. wide by 40 ft. long. It is 8 ft 6 in. high at the center. The main body of the shelter is in the shape of a half cylinder.
These emergency shelters are compact when stored. The weight of the dimension of
15 ft. by 30 ft. weighs about 265 lbs. when packaged.
The entire shelter can be
setup using picture instructions given in our manual enabling a lay-person to erect
the shelter without technical assistance.
Instructions: picture instructions to provide affordable temporary housing when emergencies arise
Extendible: The shelter can be increased to longer lengths from 30 ft up to 40 ft. Second type of shelter: The dimensions of the plastic shelters, when erected, are 9 ft 4in wide
and 14 ft 8 in long at the base. The main body of the shelter is in the shape of
a standard house with a pitched roof design.
Optional Features and Equipment:
Duck Bill Anchoring System for maximum holding ability sandy ground cover, severe inclement weather conditions.
Blower System for increased ventilation and exhaust as well as for snow loading and/or high winds.
Insulated shelter with fully insulated inner liner, insulated non-slip fabric floor
Producer(s): EMPAC International Relief Inc.
On Hand/Production Schedule:
Additional Information: EMPAC International Relief Inc.
Additional Comments: "EMPAC has expanded our mission as an international corporation to provide
different types of emergency shelters worldwide in response to human needs after catastrophic events.
Provides a means of an immediate and economical shelter for victims of natural disasters or
Name: Rubb Building Systems Temporary Shelters and Structures
Materials: The fabric covering is composed of a woven polyester mesh impregnated on both sides
with a PVC coating. ...Shelters come standard with an integral base angle
foundation that can be affixed to natural ground, asphalt,
concrete or other surfaces using a variety of anchoring methods.
Rubb shelters are lightweight and pack efficiently for shipping.
These shelters offer a durable hot dip galvanized steel frame
and complete hardware and sealing materials. They are quickly
assembled with a minimum of tools and equipment.
Size: Shelter spans up to 40ft can
be supplied to any length in standard modules of 10ft.
Ethiopia: THAB Range, 33' span x 66' long shelters used by the UN as aid stores and hospitals, Ethiopia. The structures were delivered via W. Giertsen A/S of Norway
Congo: two structures to the UN Peace Mission in Congo, a NV building and a THA shelter, both to be used for the storage of food prior to distribution. The structures were delivered via W. Giertsen A/S of Norway
Cambodia: 500 People were temporarily housed in these THA range 20' span x 66' long shelters, Kampong Som, Cambodia
Elements Protection: The PVC is UV-resistant to protect the polyester from the effects
of the sun.
Designer(s): Rubb Building Systems
Producer(s): Rubb Building Systems
On Hand/Production Schedule: Most standard range Rubb shelter products are available from
inventory or on short lead times
Rubb Building Systems Temporary Shelters and Structures
Additional Comments: Long shelters used by the UN as aid stores and hospitals, storage of food prior to
distribution, emergency housing
Disaster Relief with Earthship Biotecture
Offers to send an Earthship Demonstration program and team to disaster areas to teach the basics
on building a strong shelter (modular building - 250 sf) from recycled materials available locally which will provide for treating its own sewage and catch rain water for drinking and other uses.
Demonstration shelter built in Andaman Islands, India after 2004 tsunami.
References: Article in The Tribune, India
Pacific Domes Shelters For Freedom Worldwide
Sizes from 16'' to 60', "covers of durable, water and mildew resistant, flame retardant fabric
with a life expectancy of up to twenty years depending on the fabric used.
Different fabrics for various climates depending upon the UV exposure and humidity."
Features: Floor Area - 200 sq. ft., Bay Window: 5ft. tall x 14ft. wide, Frame Package: 5ft. x 1ft. x 1ft.
, Ceiling Height: 8 1/2ft, Dome Weight: 200 lbs, Cover Package: 2 1/2ft. x 18in. x 18in,
Assembly Time: 2 hours with a crew of 3 or 4 (Double your first time), Prices: 16ft. SunLite Dome Package $3,295, 16ft. Canopy Vinyl Dome Package $3,695,
16ft. Canopy Plus Vinyl Dome Package $4,895
Moladi Housing when lack of resources, insufficient funds,
shortage of skills, time constraint. combining a re-usable, patented, recyclable lightweight plastic injection moulded form work system branded as moladi we create a mould the size of the designed house and cast all the services, electrical and plumbing, in situ using a South African Bureau of Standards approved... Certificate 94/231 creating a cast in situ monolithic reinforced walling system. Eliminating chasing, beam filling, plastering and waste. The result, a fast track cost effective, transferable construction technology."
"is versatile and allows for easy adaptation to varied design specifications, whether they are schools, homes, clinics or factories whist maintaining design aesthetics for social acceptability.
...Facilitates the possibility for many in situ structures to be built in just one day."
Libeskind Moving Forward with Project in Tsunami-Stricken Sri Lanka
"Studio Libeskind's work includes a comprehensive master plan, including mixed and single-use neighborhoods, and designs
for several buildings, including houses, craft and work centers, shops, restaurants, and guest houses." Urban Solutions
which has been involved with disaster construction projects worldwide, has supplied $600,000 for the project.
Unawatuna 2612 has also helped raise money to cover the firm's costs
Briggs Port-A-Fold Ltd. Collapsible, Transportable Hard-wall Shelter Systems.
"Its simple and unique hinging mechanism, attached to lightweight panels allows the shelter to collapse and fold into a flat rectangular shape for easy shipping, handling, transport or storage."
Some of its attributes include: "...Folds down to (15") 38.1cm, Lightweight and easily set up by 4-6 persons,
Easily erected in approximately (15) minutes,
Offers a weather-tight enclosure,
Fifteen (15) systems can be shipped in 40' container to reduce shipping costs..."
Manufactured under Licence Agreement by : F. J. Beverly Engineering & Consultancy Pte Ltd
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Site: FJ Beverly Engineering and Consultancy
How To Build A Quinzee by Mike Nowacki
How to Build a Snow Shelter
Digging a Snow Shelter Snow Holes, Snow Mounds, Igloos from bbc/co/uk.
Excellent description of the different types of snow shelters - no pictures
Tech Tips - Building Snow Shelters From: Secrets of Warmth
Some Conventional Disaster Relief Manufactured/Modular Housing Units |
return to index
Benfield ATT.co.il Disaster Relief, Relocatable and Permanent Housing
Rapid erection by 2 people+occasional others in 2 days, simple instructions, with no skills necessary and no special equipment.
Foundations, floors and roof in a day for immediate shelter,
designed for use under any climatic conditions, with simple adaptations for shops, schools, worship, meeting rooms.
Built to UK and European Building Regulation standards, earthquake and hurricane resistance.
Footprint of 7.2m x 13.2, provision for rainwater capture and storage, 4-5 rooms, water and sanitation capabilities, electrical system, modular system, shipped as one unit per 20 ft container. Structure fully insulated, pre-glazed, pre-wired, pre-plumbed, linkable, extendable, re-locatable, upgradeable, designed for 20 years without maintenance, and with
many options available. "...A cheaper, disposable shelter can also be provided, with or without plumbing and electrics, etc."
Daedalus Project Disaster Response Shelter
Rapid/easy assembly, Durable, Eco friendly, Hazard free, Hygienic, Lightweight, Low cost, Long lasting,
Low flammability, Non toxic, Chemically resistant, Insect Resistant, Thermally resistant
Water resistant, Weather resistant. Manufactured using advanced composite technology.
The panels permit fabrication of a single structural unit of approximately 14 square
meters within hours by a team of two to three people using basic hand tools.
Each structure is comprised of polymer composite panels measuring 1.25 meters
by 1.25 meters, weighing approximately 12 kilograms.
Basic Structural Unit
(Single Unit - 14 m2)
Each basic structural unit consists of approximately 50 panels. The panels are assembled
three panels in width to form a structure 2.5 meters high by 3.75 meters on each side.
The area of the basic structural unit is approximately 14 square meters or 150 square feet.
Floor panels are also included to provide a clean, safe, and easily maintained environment.
In addition to the basic structural unit, Daedalus designed a single unit of approximately
19 square meters that is very suitable for family shelter for disaster response.
Models: single, expanded single, dual, triple
New Hope Disaster Relief
Nonprofit Disaster Relief Program. "To provide immediate housing for families and individuals
in need, NHC has designed transitional housing units: bunkhouses, cottages, and lodges to
house families and volunteers. Furnished with kitchen appliances, living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture. Units are portable
and can be set up on any lot. As a family/individual reaches sustainability, receives
insurance settlements, etc. the unit can be passed on to another family or the unit can
be converted to permanent housing."
Blueprints and layouts
International Building Systems Emergency Relief Housing
Modular or panelized systems can be shipped anywhere in the world. Installation is made easy with fully erected modules or panelized systems erected on full slab or perimeter concrete grade beams.
Housing and building projects for various types of housing worldwide in 23+ countries. Email: email@example.com
Disaster Relief Infrastructure Services
"Installation of the units can occur in just 24 to 72 hours. Due to the trans-modal design and universal shipping methods, delivery of large shipments can be accomplished easily. Energistx-IDS can provide the necessary manpower and materials to install the units once delivered.
Our partners set the new standard for Disaster Relief in providing housing, support structures, and temporary utilities in disaster situations
"As part of a wide-ranging program undertaken for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Bechtel has made 27,564 temporary housing units ready for occupancy, of which 26,104 are occupied and providing shelter to more than 70,000 people. On average, nearly 400 units a day are being made ready for occupancy..."
Bechtel and Disaster Relief Emergency Response and Restoration Experience
Bechtel and Disaster Relief, Emergency Response, and Restoration Experience
Hurricane Katrina: Bechtel’s Emergency Relief Work For FEMA
Global Modular Housing
Provides: Quotations on complete buildings according the your architectural plans,
Full design service, with CAD drawings and engineering computations,
Technology Transfers/On Site Manufacturing.
Manufactured Housing Associations in the United States
Shelter Solutions International "is a global provider of portable temporary shelters, disaster relief housing and container modifications, along with support infrastructure and turn-key solutions for virtually any shelter requirement.
With modification facilities in the United States and Asia, SSI can address shelter and housing requirements anywhere. The perfect solution for portable emergency shelter and disaster relief housing in regions impacted by hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and fires.
A dependable alternative to traditional modular construction or tents, our intermodal building units require no construction or foundation, and can withstand winds to 150KmH without anchoring. They arrive ready for rapid connection to utilities and immediate move-in.
Portable Temporary Emergency Shelter - Container Houses - Modular Steel Buildings - Container Modifications - Disaster Relief Housing"
Photos courtesy of Concrete Canvas
Name: Concrete Canvas
Materials: Concrete Cloth
Building Technique: Self Erecting
Instructions: The structure arrives folded and sealed in a plastic sack. The
sack is filled completely with water. After 15 minutes the sack is ripped
along its seams and the structure unfolded and pegged down. It is erected by
deploying a gas generator. After 12 hours the structure is ready for use.
Building time: 40 minutes, 12hours before use.
Protection from Elements:
Applications: Accommodation, Storage of food and equipment, Field medical
unit/ward/isolation space. Field Offices.
Available/Production Schedule: Volume production in 2 years,
Designer(s): Peter Brewin, William Crawford
Director: Crawford Brewin Ltd. www.concretecanvas.org.uk
Deborah Gans and Matthew Jelacic, firstname.lastname@example.org
"In their most ambitious project, Gans and Jelacic have turned to the global challenge of disaster-relief housing.
In 1999, their housing proposal won an international competition sponsored by USAID (United States Agency for International Development), Architecture for Humanity, and War Child. And last November, they received a grant from Johnnie Walker's Keep Walking Fund. For the international competition, the guidelines were stringent: Designs had to allow for structures that could go up in 24 hours and stay up for two years." fast company magazine
Reuter's Alertnet List of NGOs involved in relief work
Reuter's Alertnet Tsunamis Charities which responded to tsunamis
"World Shelters provides lightweight durable structures for humanitarian needs. World Shelters sent shelters to Sri Lanka for use as portable clinics by International Medical Corps, for use in rebuilding a village in Galle, Sri Lanka, for rebuilding in southeast India, and as components of a field hospital in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
Can also provide complete systems plus solar paneling for Internet GroundStation shelter, single family shelter including refrigerator, stove, lighting, water system, shower and cots, communal Kitchen, platform and accessories required for two private latrines.
Towards Sustainable Shelter Solutions in Emergency Situations.
A Case Study on an Emergency Shelter Intervention in Earthquake-Affected Areas of Northern
Afghanistan. Photos and Schematics.
ShelterForLife Shelters "With over
twenty years of experience in Central Asia
rebuilding homes and communities, SFL specializes in providing sustainable housing
solutions for refugees and disaster victims..." "SFL has received international
recognition for implementing shelter designs that utilize local architecture and
measures that reduce the damage from earthquakes and other disasters. SFL’s holistic
and community-based programs also include disaster mitigation training, disaster
preparedness planning, infrastructure reconstruction, and community development initiatives."
"Another prototype emergency winterised tent option - made of locally available material - has already been implemented in quake-affected areas in Indian-administered Kashmir through the UK-based international charity Oxfam."
Relief Shelter Operations for quake survivors in India and Pakistan
"ShelterForLife® has had a long history of restoring the
lives of people left homeless by war or natural disaster all over the world since 1979...Thousands of homes and millions of people have benefited from the work that our generous donors and faithful supporters have allowed us to do over the years."
UNHCR - The U.N. Refugee Agency
RED-R Engineers for Relief
Medair International Humanitarian Aid Organisation
Designs Innovative Emergency Shelter for Quake Survivors IRC
“The biggest challenge is to find a rapidly erectable structure that will withstand the cold and snow-loads by using materials that are locally available...
The IRC is adapting an innovative design that uses flexible, hollow plastic tubing normally used in the packaging of grains and commodities. The tubing, manufactured in rolls more than a kilometer long, is packed tight with soil and debris which is then twisted into a dome-shaped structure. But the problem with dome-shaped structures is that they are not always culturally acceptable, so what we’ve done is adapt it into a rectangular or square structure using the same technique...”
architectes de l'urgence (Emergency Architects)
Architects Without Frontiers
Post Earthquake Temporary Housing Strategy
This document is prepared rapidly to inform response to the temporary housing needs of
those affected by the earthquake, starting with the emergency relief phase and continuing
until all affected individuals are supported by various housing options developed within the
Temporary Housing For Tsunami Victims Center For Housing Planning and Building & ITDC, South Asia.
House and utility design includes: Principles adopted, Materials used, Rationale, Options,
Single house, Inside the permanent solutions, Temporary, Twin house, Inside the permanent solutions,
Temporary, Four houses in a row, Cluster Housing, ITDG Solution
(pdf) PERMANENT HOUSING CONCEPTS AND SAMPLE DESIGNS FOR TSUNAMI
DISASTER RECOVERY. Maldives
Revision 08.03.05. Concepts and proposed requirements with suggested models.
Gimme Temporary Shelter Architecture for Humanity. Discusses some of the most usable shelter ideas in the world and some of the problems of getting them instituted in refugee or emergency situations.
Quake survivors turn temporary shelters into homes
News story discusses the problems found with temporary shelter.
There's No Place Like Home The historical problems with emergency housing. Downplays the provision of emergency shelter and emphasizes the process of rebuilding and providing the need to return home.
Courses in Shelter Construction and Transitional Settlement
Some of these course dates have passed
Shelter Construction in Emergencies
Date of previous course: June 2005
See scheduling for other courses pertinent to relief missions
International groups: RedR Australia - RedR Canada - RedR India - RedR London - RedR New Zealand - RedR Eastern-Africa - secretariat: RedR International Contact: email@example.com
The overall aim of the course is to introduce participants to issues concerning Settlement Planning & Shelter Construction by developing practical skills in the appropriate selection, design and installation of emergency settlements and shelters for displaced peoples and support agencies.
Oxfam Shelter Training Coordinated for RedR
Oxfam is adopting a further participatory role and is coordinating RedR shelter training for international and local NGOs, and government staff. A number of NGOs, Government Agents (head of district administration) and the National Housing Development Authority have also expressed interest in attending the first workshop which will take place next week.
Builders Without Borders
"We are an international network of ecological builders who form partnerships with communities and organizations around the world to create affordable housing from local materials and to work together for a sustainable future. We believe the solution to homelessness is not merely housing, but a local population trained to provide housing for themselves."
We have determined our role to be largely educational -- our goal is to support those working in the field, through providing resources, advice, networking, and training so that hard-won successes can be widely shared and disseminated.
"We advocate the use of straw, earth, and other easily obtainable materials for the construction of homes..."
For other groups in same tradition, see Sustainable Building Image Gallerys by Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building. 23 groups linked.
Medair International Humanitarian Aid Organisation
Aside from a package of essential relief items, Medair is also sending plastic sheeting, tents plus groundsheets,
demonstration shelters built from the rubble of survivors homes in
185 shelter kits, 1000 tents being manufactured in Pakistan
Purchase materials in country; corrugated tin sheeting, nails, tarpaulin, binding wire, roof cap and tools where necessary and
packaged into temporary shelter kits.
"Sand, cement, wood, zinc plates, and other materials for building foundations and roofs are already on their way to Lampaya. The total cost of a house kit will range from 18 to 22 million Rupiah (c. £1,000). Walls, doors, and windows will be built from materials collected from the debris of the Tsunami."
UNHCR and RED-R Engineers for Relief
"It's a pack of galvanised iron sheets, nails, spade and wheelbarrows, costing under $500
and that provides shelter for 3 to 5 families, and can be added and adapted to,
according to indigenous building traditions..."
Katrina shelter solution in a box?
Architects Without Frontiers
- Esther Charlesworth
Rotary Shelter Box
Initiative developed in Britain, that has spread internationally.
Developed by Rotary International provides A dry shelter (10 person tunnel tent),
a warm bed (sleeping bags), light and heat, clean water, cooking aids, tools for 10
people in a box. Thousands sent to Earthquake victims in India, Pakistan.
Katrina shelter solution in a box?
Architects Without Frontiers
- Esther Charlesworth
World Shelters Frame Kit
For volume requirements where flame-retardant plastic sheeting is being distributed by the UN, USAID or other relief agencies; includes all components except the sheeting, Also includes the pattern for marking the clip attachment points, and pictorial instructions (no words). Sufficient clips to create doors and floors are included, along with stakes, cord, tarp tape, and a razor knife.
World Shelters Clip Kit
For volume requirements where in addition to the sheeting being available there is also a local supply of appropriate PVC pipe. Same components as the Shelter Frame Kit, but with no PVC poles..
Habitat, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements
The plan includes the identification of 17,000 plots around the city as possible sites for new homes.
“The project will cost a huge amount of money and they are still awaiting funding”, Tranum-Kristensen told IRIN.
According to the announcement, 50,000 shelter kits, consisting of 30 wooden poles, a door, two window frames, nails and tools will be distributed.
Daily Times - Pakistan August 06, 2002
"As part of its $35 million shelter programme, UNHCR has shipped 240 mt of nails to distribution points throughout Afghanistan, along with 240,000 door hinges and a similar number of tool kits - each containing a hammer, shovel and pick axe."
"The agency has also purchased 40,000 cubic metres of timber (beams and lintels), and is seeking regional suppliers to provide 263,000 more beams. Moreover, it’s funding local carpentry workshops in which Afghan craftsmen build doors and windows needed for the shelter kits. But given the gravity of the situation, the task is a daunting one."
Daily Times - Pakistan August 06, 2002
Shelter kits for East Timor: containing house repair material (timber, corrugated iron sheets, tools and nails as well as cement)
Shelter kits East Timor
UNHCR and RED-R Engineers for Relief
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) together with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and other organisations
Launched a pilot project to provide shelter repair kits to victims of the South Asian earthquake." "The IOM shelter repair kit includes sheet iron roofing, plastic sheeting, hammers, nails, spades, pickaxes, saws, stoves, blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and children's clothing."
"IOM ordered some 3,000 tents from a factory in Lahore...
The IOM has ordered 7,500 tents from India and 1,500 from Turkey, but another 1,000 from China may be delayed."
Relief Shelter Operations for quake survivors in India and Pakistan
Architects Fund to Shelter Tsunami Victims (AFSTV) Provides schematics for homes to be built and the cost per unit, to include water, electricity, and sanitation.
ADBInstitute Discussion of guidelines for post tsunami recovery established by the Urban Development Authority
International Migration Organiztion (IMO) builds temporary housing INDONESIA: Local companies fabricate transitional homes for tsunami survivors.
"Subject to available funding, IOM agreed in principle to provide up to 11,000 semi-permanent homes in Banda Aceh. Made from pre-fabricated concrete components, the houses can be reconfigured for use as clinics, schools and meeting rooms."
Designed by Indonesian architects from the Research Institute of the Department of Public Works in Bandung, the semi-detached molded concrete units include water and electricity and are designed to withstand earthquakes registering up to 7 on the Richter scale.
Sustainable Building Image Galleries by Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building. 23 sites linked with photos (mainly straw, earth, natural materials)
Survival Shelter Survival shelters mostly for one person in emergency situations.
AAA Wilderness Survival: How to Build a Shelter Gives description of the following emergency shelters:
tree-pit snow, debris hut, natural, swamp bed, parachute hammock,
poncho, parachute, desert shade, beach shelters
Top 6 Organizations For Rebuilding After Disaster About Article with links. Includes Architecture For Humanity, Shelter For Life International, Architects Without Borders, Relief International, Habitat for Humanity International, Mercy Corp.
Cardboard to the Rescue Discusses Peter Ryan's idea of a cardboard shelter and provides links to other sites and articles related to the provision of emergency shelter.
Types of Structures linked
Short-term fabric shelters, Local materials, Prefabricated solutions, Sandbag Emergency Structure,
Bamboo structure, Other design solutions
The Sphere Project Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response
Guidelines for Building Measures After Disasters and Conflict Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH Eschborn 2003 "These Guidelines with the annexes present various practical references to the planning,
procedures, and execution of reconstruction measures with special relevance to emergency
situations after disasters and conflicts. It is addressed to external experts, to national and
international organisations, project planners, consultants, project partners and project executing
agencies, as well as..." Among the contents are the following:
Building measures in development-oriented emergency aid (DEA),
Methodological approach, Needs analysis and rapid assessment on location,
Project planning and management during implementation,
Basic planning criteria for simple buildings worldwide,
Forms, Case Studies.
Guidelines for Tsunami-Related Rehabilitation and Development Assistance Center for Policy Analysis, Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 2005
"...basic guidelines for the delivery of assistance in order to avoid pitfalls commonly associated with rehabilitation and development."
Housing Reconstruction After Conflict and Disaster
"This paper reviews experiences in
housing reconstruction in the aftermath
of natural disaster and conflict. It offers
guidance on how to plan and prepare for
a housing reconstruction intervention;
describes the various housing reconstruction
approaches available; and sets
out the various models of implementation
that tend to be used." Humanitarian Practice Network at ODI through which paper commissioned and published.
is a knowledge base of over 1000 environmentally preferable products,
materials and resources. Designed to help designers, builders, consultants and those
looking to deliver a best practice design, ecospecifier can help reduce environmental
impacts and create healthier and more productive living and working environments.
"To support developing countries reduce the risk and social, economic and environmental impacts of natural and technological disasters on the poor in order to reduce poverty and build sustainable economies."
Excellent resource for planning and development and response to disaster.
Listing and photos with discussion of shelter types including shelter designs of metal, plastic, fabric, and paper
Also see main page Rapid Deployment Architecture
Albergues de Emergencia: Alternativas a las tiendas
Disaster Shelters: Alternatives to Tents and Tarps
Human Rights Issues in the Post Tsunami Context
Discusses housing set up by various groups and agencies in the post Tsunami and the problems encountered.
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