Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From package to home!

The shelters are up and being lived in by two incredible families. Our goal with this pilot is to work with the families living in the shelters to understand from their perspective how to improve the product. For more information about the design visit our site and to see feedback and observations from the field click here.

Below are a series of photos showing the TShel2 assembly.

The collapsed shelter measures 4' x 8' x 2.5' ft (1.2 x 2.4 x .76 m) and unpacks into a two-story, three roomed structure. All the components necessary for assembly come in this collapsed package. The goal is to create a shelter that can be logistically brought in after a disaster.

(left) Unpacking the shelter package. (right) Assembling the legs and elevated first floor.
(click on the image to enlarge)
(left) Assembling the steel shelter frame. (right) Attaching the second and third floors.
(left) Frame finished (right) Attaching exterior walls made from corrugated polypropylene
(both) Attaching more corrugated polypropylene walls. The walls and roof are made from this material which is UV resistant, fire-retardant, and water proof.

(left) Final walls piece  (right) Last but not least come the windows, vents and door installation.

from package to home

The shelter rests on telescoping legs that can be raised or lowered to keep the shelter level on uneven terrain.
The multi-story unit allows for increased living space in a small land footprint by utilizing vertical space.  This feature is beneficial in urban disasters where land is scarce. The shelter has 18 sq m. (190 sq ft) of interior space with a 6 sq m. (64 sq ft) exterior porch and takes up a 2.5 x 4.7 m (8' x16' ft) footprint.  
For any questions please email rafael@ubershelter.org and special thanks to our wonderful photographer Laurel Cummings!

TShel2 (Uber Shelter) in a sea of tarps in the Adokin/Accra  IDP camp, Port-au-Prince. The shelter is available for viewing

Upgrades to Magdala's Shelter!

A few weeks after arriving in Haiti we met Magdala through our translator. At the time, we were searching for two families to live in our shelters and help us to understand how to improve the product. Magdala was living in a tent camp in Port-au-Prince with her mother and daughter. After loosing her home in the earthquake, Magdala's sister moved out of the city with her husband and children to an area called Croix-des-Bouquets. She offered Magdala to move out of the camp and onto this plot of land as soon as Magdala could find a way to build a shelter. The camps can be dangerous and it is hard for me to imagine the constant state of insecurity a family must feel when living in a shelter that leaves nothing between them and the outside but a tarp. After meeting Magdala, she seemed to be great fit for the second shelter. Click here for a 3 min video of the assembly.

As mentioned in the previous post, we initially finished assembling the shelter for Magdala and quickly realized that some of the "emergency shelter" features of the design were not reflecting Magdala's current housing needs. With Magdala's strong support, we decided to beef-up the original design to something more permanent. The canvas roof was replaced with a corrugated steel roof, plywood walls were added behind the vinyl fabric on the first floor for security, shelving was added in the interior, and a plywood door with locks replaced the velcro door. The upgrades went great and Magdala is now living in her new home.

We were worried that the steel roof might make the interior temperature unbearable, but were pleasantly surprised at how cool the interior temperature stayed during the day. The shiny metal roofing sheets reflect the sun and the punched out windows provide plenty of ventilation.

corrugated steel roof instalation

Franky and Val installing roof panels

To the left, Armand talking with Magdala's sister and a view of the sleeping loft overhead. To the right is a picture of the second room with punched out windows. These widows add  visual  space and make the shelter feel much larger.

Magdala and her sister checking out her new home

A special thanks to Franky and Val for their incredible work on the build!

Armand kicking Val's butt in a pull up competition...
Amazing sunset over Croix-Des-Bouquets with the mountains in the background. The stars and moon are equally impressive. There is no shortage of natural beauty in Haiti.