In response to the devastating earthquake in Nepal this past April, architects Charles Lai and Takehiko Suzuki co-founded a relief organization, Architecture for the Mass and have been working on an emergency shelter design that locals can build by themselves. The prototype, a gabled structure made of bamboo (a cost-efficient and abundant material in Nepal), can be clad in other readily available local materials like metal and timber. According to the architects, the structure could be built by unskilled workers in two to three days, using a detailed construction manual the architects have devised.
According to Dezeen, Lai and Suzuki collaborated with Hong Kong architecture studio AONA and charity One Village Focus Fund to complete the first prototype in the village of Duawkot. Built for just $500, the approximately 190-square-foot-structured was assembled in two days by 14 people.
Compared to the much-buzzed flatpack refugee shelter from Ikea refugee shelter, which is constructed from lightweight polymer panels and can be completed in four to eight hours by four people, this relief housing prototype seems more complicated. But the architects' main goal here is to to "empower the local community to establish a self-help network" using what's readily available, overcoming the major obstacle of transporting building materials across the mountainous region.
"Even though emergency relief materials such as tents and canvas could be flew into Nepal by cargo planes, these materials can hardly proliferate into the remote villages," the project statement says.
The architects also expect this structure to provide better defense against monsoons and more earthquakes than the makeshift mud brick homes locals are used to building.
Anyway, watch a video of the construction process below.
· Prototype shelter for Nepal earthquake victims could be built by unskilled workers in three days [Dezeen]
· Examining Nepal's Architectural Legacy After the Earthquake [Curbed]
· Here Come 10,000 Ikea Flatpack Refugee Shelters [Curbed]
· MASS Design Group on How to Improve Relief Architecture [Curbed]