LAVA's new take on the paper lantern

Friday 02 Sep 2011

Imaginative examples of emergency shelters go on display in Sydney

In response to the thousands of people displaced by Japan’s natural disasters this year, an inspirational exhibition is taking centre stage in the Customs House forecourt in Sydney Australia from 1st-3rd September 2011. A series of architecture practices including Ateliers Jean Nouvel, PTW Architects, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and Terunobu Fujimori have constructed inventive shelters which could potentially be used to home those affected by wide-scale disasters in an attempt to raise awareness and aid for Japan’s disaster victims.

The visuals displayed here demonstrate the full scale model from LAVA, Keystone Project Group and Staging Rentals entitled ‘Digital Origami Emergency Shelter’. Taking inspiration from the Japanese Metabolist movement’s idea of prefabricated capsules as living space, the modest volume is highly adaptable and can be shipped to disaster areas as a flat pack, cut out of local plywood, or dropped off by helicopter.

In reference to the flexible nature of the space, LAVA explains: “The project plays with ideas of prefabrication and personalised inhabitation, as well as stacking of multiple units, while giving an opportunity for individual expression.” Part of the resourceful design includes the ability to construct the unit using a variety of materials, including wood, cardboard and newspaper. The completed shelter offers enough sleeping space for two adults and one child, with a small amount of additional living space for eating, reading etc. Light will be provided via battery or solar powered LED bulbs which LAVA suggests will transform the volume ‘into a lantern, a sign of hope’.

The exhibition will also be on display at Sydney College of the Arts during the 2011 Sydney Architecture Festival ( which runs from 20th -30th October.

Key Facts:

Urban design

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