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Wood-Frame Emergency Shelters Made From Earthquake Rubble

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What’s the fastest way to erect quick, comfortable and durable emergency shelters while simultaneously clearing away rubble after an earthquake? Renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, known for brilliant relief projects and ingenious use of paper products in architecture, has a solution so smart, it’s a wonder nobody thought of it already. This design is a modular shelter consisting of a wooden framework filled with brick rubble salvaged after a disaster.

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Conceived after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Nepal in April, these temporary relief shelters are low-cost and easy to assemble. Roof trusses are made from local paper tubes and sealed with plastic sheeting. Rubble is simply stacked within the wooden frames, which can be made with local materials and put together quickly.

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This particular project visually references Nepalese architecture, but the concept could be adapted for virtually any place in the world where lumber is readily available. The first small shelter based on this design is expected to be complete in Nepal by the end of August in collaboration with Ban’s humanitarian organization, Volunteer Architects Network (VAN).


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