Building Emergency Shelter with a Wrench and a Ratchet

Building Emergency Shelter with a Wrench and a Ratchet

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Jul 21, 2010
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Millions of refugees and internally displaced people live in deplorable conditions, and thousands more have lost homes from natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti. Rafael Smith wants to change that. He runs the Uber Shelter Project, and he attended our weekly Lunch and Learn session to tell us about his organization's prototype for emergency relief housing.

Rafael designed the first Uber Shelter as part of his senior thesis while studying at Purdue University. Now he works with two other Purdue grads to design and produce emergency relief houses. Their prototype is portable, recyclable and easy to assemble--no power tools required. In fact, all you need is four people, a wrench and a ratchet. Watch it grow in this video clip:

Rafael said the role of the Uber Shelter Project is not to be a first responder organization, but rather to design products that allow other organizations such as the Red Cross and UNHCR to do their job better. He said he wants to create not only a product, but a system.

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