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Uber Shelter

Refugee camp in Zaire, 1994
Image via Wikipedia

04edlifehousedesignlarge-415x1024Uber Shelter, designed by Rafael Smith while a senior at Purdue University is a modular, quickly deployable emergency shelter, primarily intended for use within refugee camps. With no previous knowledge of refugee camps, he sought the advice of doctors, policy makers, aid workers, and a Sudanese refugee he met online.
His design was a finalist at the 2008 International Design Excellence Awards for students.

The concept for a portable housing unit would help meet immediate shelter needs. The shelter unfolds into a two-story home, complete with lights, stove, porch, mosquito nets, and a small refrigerator. It can be assembled with just a few tools. It provides a portable personal living space for those affected by catastrophic events and can be collapsed for ease in transportation. It’s also made from recyclable and reusable materials.

Smith focuses on fixing some of the problems that have plagued large refugee camps. The model is meant to reduce sprawl. Because the shelter can hold two families, one on each floor, the camp size can be reduced by half, and he equips each home with solar-powered electricity. The unit is made of lightweight recyclable aluminum, so it can be cheaply transported by car or parachuted into a disaster area. The shelter measures 7-by-12 feet when set up and collapses into a two-foot high section for ease in transportation. Once a crisis is resolved, the shelters can be cleaned out, packed up, and shipped to the next location that needs them.

No cost has been established yet because Smith plans to refine his design before thinking about patents. Indianapolis attorney Paul B. Overhauser read a short article about Smith’s Uber shelter in The New York Times and has offered to work pro bono to handle a patent application for Smith.

This is what I call thinking outside the 9 dots. Keep up the good work and good luck, Rafael!

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10 Responses to “Uber Shelter”

  1. Says:

    Uber Shelter | Forced Green…

    The concept for a portable housing unit would help meet immediate shelter needs….

  2. Diane Scott Says:

    This is amazing Linda! What a great post! Now if I’d been camping in one of these all those times, I might still not mind the “in the dirt” way of living. Seriously though, this is a wonderful invention and I’m glad I came by to read 🙂

  3. Linda Says:

    Hi Diane … Your excitement is catching and I hope this concept gets off of the ground (no pun intended!)

  4. Barbara Says:

    Hi Linda,

    Another fantastic post! Rafael will be helping many around the world. There needs to be more lawyers like Mr. Oberhauser that see the vision and help make it a reality! 🙂

    Barbaras last blog post..Let’s Have Some More Lemonade!

  5. skwguitar Says:

    What a good thing to be made for a good cause. It sounds like he’s put a lot of thought into it too. Hope it works out for him.

    Anyways just wanted to say thanks for your insightful comments on my blog recently.

    skwguitars last blog post..Today, I got a little more confidence in our new president

  6. wilson Says:

    This Uber Shelter is a whole lot better than the refugee camp, Linda 🙂

    wilsons last blog post..Maintain Your Cholesterol in Healthy Level!

  7. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … I think so and it is transportable along with sturdier than the tents.

  8. building green homes Says:

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