Hi everybody! Hope you had a fabulous weekend. The weather was perfect for ringing in the first days of summer! In early May, I published a blog, through Viral Nova, about an Oakland man, (Gregory Kloehn),and how he re-cycled trash from dumpsters and turned his finds into small houses for homeless people. (Such an amazing idea, and so generous to see this project through).I have found another article, from Houzzer Matthew Ankey, about building “Origami Houses” for people displaced after a storm…. “Three years ago a magnitude-9 earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan. Two tectonic plates collided in a subduction zone, one slipping under the other, and the temblor that resulted released stress that’d been building between the Pacific and Eurasian plates for centuries. The ground shook; a tidal wave followed. It was the greatest tsunami Japan had seen since the year 869.
In the aftermath the government gave displaced people shelter in cramped, dark “box houses,” often in places far from home. The temporary shelter was depressing, and in some cases the conditions were linked with suicide. A better type of shelter was in grave demand.
Postdisaster, refugees may find shelter, food and water. But onsite research by Architectural Global Aid (AGA) — made up of architects Andrea Gonzalez, Rike Tanaka and Yuko Ono — has found that refugees also hoped for the fulfillment of another essential need: privacy. When people have lost their home or have moved into large structures (like stadiums or auditoriums), they have few opportunities for personal space. So, the team at AGA sought out a private, practical housing solution for disaster relief.
As with the relief structures of 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban (his latest use Coke crates), AGA wanted something affordable and immediately useful. “The tsunami and Fukushima explosion were a big shock,” Gonzalez says. “We felt that theoretical solutions were not enough in that case. We decided to organize a fundraising campaign and build as soon as possible.”
With the fundraising the group focused on writing and publishing articles on disaster relief, lecturing around the world and, more tangibly, building their wooden Origami Houses, which they distributed to schools in Tokyo and northern Japan.
“The houses,” Gonzalez says, “are an alternative to sleeping without a ceiling right after a disaster destroys a city. They provide minimum shelter for a few days until the rescue teams arrive.”
The houses are colorful (as in the first photo), waterproof and buoyant. They can be used inside another structure or outdoors and after use can be stored until another disaster strikes. In a water-related crisis, locating the boxes is easier because of the bright colors and their ability to float (they can also double as rafts). When not in use, each can be stored in a box that’s about 5 by 6 feet (1½ by 2 meters) that can be used as a table.
After a disaster hits, the shelters can be pieced together like life-sized origami, making a small, private shelter. They have about 106 cubic feet (3 cubic meters) of space, and AGA estimates that four adults or up to 10 children can fit inside. Each shelter has a door and a window, and both openings can close for privacy.
As with every disaster, there are uncontrollable variables, like difficulty locating the boxes in the wash of rubbish (or, worse yet, being destroyed in the disaster). But despite the issues, the design and preliminary distribution of the Origami Houses show that they are solutions to help alleviate immediate loss, which, AGA believes, makes them a worthy effort. “Sometimes,” Gonzalez says, “urgencies like tsunamis or earthquakes need fast and effective solutions.”
Never having gone through such a devastating ordeal in my life-time, my heart goes out to those that have. I commend those people that devise life-saving products to enable disaster victims to start moving on with their lives……
Have a great week! Until next time…..Judy
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