Disaster Relief Shelter

Dylan Postman, Kyle Ruiter, Alan Van der Woerd, and Chase Van Gaalen

We designed and built a transitional disaster relief shelter to participate in John Brown Unviersity's (JBU) annual Disaster Shelter Competition. Each year JBU hosts this competition in partnership with a Christian disaster relief organization like Samaritan's Purse (this year's partner) in order to generate new ideas for improved shelter designs. This year the disaster scenario was based on the 2005 earthquake in Balakot, Pakistan, requiring shelters to withstand high wind and earthquake loads as well as cold winter temperatures.

Our shelter is designed to provide a safe and comfortable home for a family of four and to meet the wind, temperature, and earthquake loads specified by JBU. For quick assembly the shelter is made up of eight structurally insulated panels which utilize PVC pipe at the edges to snap together and which insert into a sturdy, insulated floor. The materials for the shelter can be sourced locally, which will help to stimulate the local economy after the disaster. Our shelter sustained vigorous shake and wind testing, and performed well in heat retention testing, earning an overall ranking of first place out of the five participating shelters at this year's competition.