In April this year, the entire country of Nepal was engulfed in tragedy, when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 9,000 people and injured another 23,000. The aftermath of the natural disaster saw millions of people homeless, many of whom are currently residing in makeshift camps. Despite the best efforts of the government, it will probably take years before these people can return to their normal way of life. To that end, Italy-based architectural firm Barberio Colella ARC has come up with an innovative temporary home design, called “Just a Minute’, that can be easily and inexpensively built using local materials.
Developed as part of a contest organized by Ikuku, a Chinese website, this modular disaster-relief shelter is extremely lightweight and easy-to-erect, and can be used in other countries as well. Each of these structures is constructed using six locally-sourced materials: bamboo, OSB panels, laminated bamboo, recycled wool, white juta and waterproof textiles. This ensures that the house can be built at low costs, without the need for skilled labor or any kind of complicated technologies.
Built to accommodate 4 to 10 people, the “Just a Minute” shelter is meant to be prefabricated offsite and then shipped via helicopter to the disaster-affected area. Although measuring around 4-by-11.7 meter when fully stretched, the building’s ingenious X-shaped bamboo pole design allows it to be folded, much like an accordion, into a compact 2.5-by-4 meter box that can be easily transported from one place to another. Once installed on-site, the two-layered juta walls of the house can be stuffed with old sweaters and recycled wool for better insulation. The outer waterproof membrane provides shelter from the natural elements, while the lateral facades, made of bamboo canes, offer solar shading.
The interior features a central OSB-paneled space housing the kitchen and the bathroom facilities. This centrally-situated core is flanked, on both sides, by a 4-by-4 meter room, one of which is used as the living space and the other functions as the sleeping area. At the front of the house lies a 4-square-meter covered outdoor space that can double as a patio. Furthermore, the shelter’s single-pitched roof makes it easy for the users to install solar panels and also, redirect rainwater into a tank for storage.
Thanks to their simple, modular design, the houses can be easily joined together to create a dwelling or even, an entire community. Speaking about the project, the spokesperson at Barberio Colella ARC said:
An earthquake can ruin the life of an entire community in a minute. This instant temporary home can give a new chance to start their life again in ‘just a minute’ as well. ‘Just a Minute’ aims to build a new life for Nepalese people, giving them a simple but efficient house, very open to customization and future switching into a stable house.
To know more about the firm and its various projects, head over to its official website.