Gimme Shelter

Exploration of Extrusion for Temporary Shelter Construction

Project Dates: 2011

Personal Project, Pratt Institute Graduate School of Industrial Design

My Roles: Research, Product Design, Physical Prototyping

Following the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011, I began thinking and reading about temporary shelters.

I was inspired by the wide variety of cultures, climates, and catalysts that necessitate the transport and assembly of temporary housing and community buildings. I was also depressed by how often these structures are lacking in character, context-appropriate specificity and durability — especially given the substantial length of time many of them end up remaining “home” for people.

Then, following a trip to an aluminum extrusion factory, I was challenged to build any product using only a single extrusion mold.

I chose temporary shelters because I was impressed by the light weight and relative strength of the aluminum. I was also intrigued by the simplicity of a single shape that could easily snap together in a multitude of formations making for easily packable, quickly assembled, yet customizable shelters.

This was a personal exploration of 3D design and a quick survey of the landscape of design needs around temporary shelters. No actual research, engineering, proof-of-concept, or high-fidelity prototyping occurred. I completed this project as part of a Masters in Industrial Design course at Pratt Institute.

Explanatory Video


3D Rendering of Extrusion Shape and Self-Connection