Disaster Relief Architecture

Disaster relief architecture can come in many shapes and sizes. Over the years, relief architecture has seen many changes due to technological advancements and innovations. We’ve chosen the most impressive disaster relief solutions around. Some of the examples are being used in the real world, while others are still in the concept stage.


Tentative Disaster Relief Architecture
Tentative, by DesignNobis, is a compact solution of disaster relief housing. The concept is meant to be very light and ultra portable. As many as 24 units can be transported to disaster sites on a single truck. The outer shell is made of fiber glass and is meant to be weather resistant. The roof is also designed to collect water.
View the project here


RE:BUILD Disaster Relief Architecture
Designed by Pilosio Building Peace, RE:BUILD is a clever solution to disaster relief housing. The modular system uses construction scaffolding. The scaffold is meant to combine easily with local materials such as dirt, rocks or sand. It can be used to build housing, schools and other types of buildings that are needed in the aftermath of a disaster.
View the project here

Emergency Floor

Emergency FloorDisaster Relief Architecture
Lack of proper flooring can be a huge problem for post-disaster situations. It can also be a problem for the developing world in general. Sleeping on bare ground can bring disease, parasites and other harmful agents. Thanks to Emergency Floor, that problem is starting to come to an end. It ingeniously uses unused shipping pallets to raise a modular flooring system off the ground to create an insulated, safe and affordable flooring solution.
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Ablenooke Disaster Relief Architecture
AbleNook was designed by Jason Ross and Sean Verdecia, graduate students at the University of South Florida. It is another modular example of disaster relief architecture. The structure is multi-purpose and can be used as housing, school classrooms, storage or anything else a community may need. The lightweight framework also allows for mass production and easy transportation.
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IKEA Solar Powered Flat Pack

Ikea Disaster Relief Architecture
Yet another lightweight solution for emergency shelter, the IKEA Flat Pack was originally built in collaboration with UNCHR. As its name suggests, the Flat Pack folds down completely flat. An added bonus: it is solar powered. It has been used for disaster relief and in refugee camps around the world. Now refugees can have a space of their own thanks to this awesome solution.
View the project here

Weaved Home

Weaved Disaster Relief Architecture
Jordanian/Canadian designer by the name of Abeer Seikaly designed this concept for relief shelter inspired by temporary huts from various tribes around the world. The weave pattern ties directly to the structure of the shelter, allowing it to open and close depending on the climate and area of use. The openings created by the weave pattern also allows for ventilation and easy construction.
View the project here

Portable Emergency Shelter

Portable Disaster Relief Architecture
This portable shelter allows for a basic framework that can withstand basic climate factors. The walls, roof and floor are also adjustable and easy to customize. Perhaps the most impressive part of this shelter is that it can be constructed in under two hours and eventually made into permanent housing.
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Concrete Canvas

Concrete Disaster Relief Architecture
Concrete Canvas may not be the best looking structure, but it made our list due to its durability, innovative construction technique, speed of construction and safety features. After being delivered as a shell, builders only need air and water to get the shelter up and running – and in only one hour. The shelter also comes with steel doors and is fire resistant.
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Exo Disaster Relief Architecture
After Hurricane Katrina, Michael McDaniel was inspired to create EXO – a low cost, portable disaster relief solution for those displaced from their homes. The EXO takes the cake for fastest setup time. After only two minutes you can be safe and warm in this bulletproof housing. The EXO comes almost completely assembled and can be transported with many others at a time due to its stackable design.

Rapid Deployment Module

Rapid Deployment Module Disaster Relief Architecture
Another quick setup, this Rapid Deployment module can be built without a single tool. Massachusetts company Visible Good designed this shelter to be deployed in about 25 minutes by only two people. Transport is also quick, and almost no waste is produced because the shipping crate is actually used as the base for the RDM.
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Hush2 Disaster Relief Architecture
The Hush 2, designed by Extremis Technology, is impressive for a number of reasons. Most notably, it is designed to withstand hurricane force winds. This is possible due to its unique set of hinges on its outer walls. When a hurricane warning has been issued, residents of the shelter can unhinge the walls and reconstruct the building into a prism – a shape that is much stronger than a box and will deflect hurricane force winds.
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Just a Minute

Just A Minute Disaster Relief Architecture
After several earthquakes in Nepal in recent years, Italian firm Barberio Colella ARC has designed a concept for Nepalese refugees. This larger structure could house up to 10 people and would be easily constructed on site. With roof-based solar panels and a rainwater collection system, this shelter would be a great solution.
View the project here


The Grid Disaster Relief Architecture
The Grid, by Carter Williamson Architects, is a prototype for larger, lightweight sustainable housing that can be easily transported to remote areas. The initial structure acts as a base or template that can be built out using found materials such as debris. It is said to house 8-10 people.
View the project here


Reciproboo Disaster Relief Architecture
ReciproBoo was designed in response to disaster relief efforts in Nepal after a 2008 flood. Originally, simple tents were used as relief structures. These tents had been badly damaged and degraded after only a few months. The only structures still still being utilized were bamboo framed huts built by the locals – and hence ReciproBoo was born.
View the project here

Onagawa Container Temporary Housing

Onagawa Disaster Relief Architecture
After a horrible earthquake hit Onagawa, Japan in 2011, Shigeru Ban designed and built these temporary structures out of paper and shipping containers. The airy design and fast relief helped to revitalize the community and lift the spirits of those affected by the disaster.
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Post-Tsunami Kirinda Project

Kirinda Disaster Relief Architecture
Another inspiring disaster relief project from the mind of Shigeru Ban, these houses were built from bricked earth and locally-sourced rubber tree wood. 100 of these small houses were built after a tsunami hit Sri Lanka in 2004.
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Hexagonal Shelters

Hexagon Disaster Relief Architecture
Designed by Architects for Society, these unique hexagonal shelters can fit together to form community areas and larger structures. The structures are meant to be used for short-term relief, but can also transition into long-term housing or up to 20 years.
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RD-Shelter Prototype

RD Shelter Disaster Relief Architecture
Sussie, the Scottish design firm behind this prototype, is currently raising funds in order to deploy their idea to the real world. The concept can house up to four people (two adults and two children), is waterproof, windproof and comes with storage in its base. Another nice feature: it locks from the inside.
View the project here

SURI Modular Housing

Suri Disaster Relief Architecture
Although this shelter was originally designed for post-earthquake situations, it is now being used to house refugees from the Middle-East and Africa fleeing political and economic hardship. The modular design can grow to create private and communal spaces by attaching multiple units.
View the project here

Garrison Post-Disaster Housing

Garrison Disaster Relief Architecture
Garrison architects has built a full-size prototype of this vertical relief architecture solution. It is meant to be a blueprint for post-relief buildings and offers flexible design.
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Volunteer in Nepal
Interested in volunteering with our disaster relief program? Villages in Nepal still need support.

Preventative Relief Architecture

Preventative disaster relief architecture helps mitigate potential damage to communities and towns that are in disaster prone areas. Many of these solutions are designed and built directly into the structures themselves. Although it is impossible to plan for every situation, these solutions come pretty close.

Earthquake Resistant School in Thailand

Earthquake Thailand Disaster Relief Architecture
This secondary school in Thailand was built after an earthquake destroyed many schools and displaced over 70 students in 2014. The school is a permanent structure and was built on a tilted lot to stabilize it and lift it off the ground. A great example of preventative relief architecture.
View the project here

MAT-TER Typhoon Resistant Housing

Mat-ter Disaster Relief Architecture
After a devastating earthquake hit the Philippines, a competition was held to redesign and rebuild schools in the area. MAT-TER designed this bamboo structure to be typhoon resistant. They also plan to plant a small bamboo forest around the school to be used as a wind screen and a resource to make repairs if needed.
View the project here

Floating Schools

Floating Schools Disaster Relief Architecture
Architect Mohammed Rezwan designed these floating schools to combat floods during the monsoon season in Bangladesh. Roughly one third of the country goes under water during this monsoon season. Rezwan, who is form Bangladesh, was tired of seeing schools destroyed and people displaced, so he came up with this innovative solution. What a great idea!
View the project here

Energy Box

Energy Box Disaster Relief Architecture
This earthquake-proof house is built of cross-laminated timber and uses special construction methods to create a strong structural framework. Prior to an earthquake in 2009, may homes in this region were built in masonry. Today, many homes resemble the Energy Box.
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Earthquake Resistant Structure

Earthqauke Resistant Disaster Relief Architecture
These Pakistani homes are built with local wood. They utilize a special wood framing pattern to fight the vibrations from earthquakes and lightweight roofing to keep damage to a minimum.
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Earthquake Proof Geodesic Domes

Earthquake Dome Disaster Relief Architecture
Earthquakes can devastate communities in Israel, so builders there are taking a new, sustainable approach to home building. These domes are made of hay and mud and may be the best relief architecture solution yet.
View the project here