Pop-Up Shelter May Aid Disaster Relief


A new lightweight, affordable, pop-up shelter could benefit the homeless and victims of natural disasters worldwide, its developer hopes.

Alastair Pryor, an Australian entrepreneur, says he conceived the idea for Compact Shelters after accidentally disturbing a homeless man while assembling scaffolding on a construction site.

"I felt for the homeless man as it was so cold, wet and windy; his living conditions would be painful during the cold, harsh Melbourne winter. This was really a light-bulb moment,” Pryor told the New York Daily News.

Some 500 million people were displaced  last year by natural disasters, civil alone from natural disasters, civil conflicts and war, according to Compact Shelters.

The shelters will launch later this year for $150, and Pryor is currently working with charitable organization Oxfam in the UK on a collaboration.

The Details

Weighing 35 pounds, Compact Shelters measure 6.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 feet (78 inches in each direction) when opened and 79 x 40 x 2.75 inches when collapsed. The modular units can be attached to create larger shelters or separate rooms. When combined, the shelters can accommodate larger families and provide for privacy.

The company calls the units the first hard wall immediate response shelter.

The product is made of polypropylene because of its durability, weather resistance, and thermal properties, the inventor says. To meet strict standards imposed by aid relief organizations, the shelter has undergone extensive testing to prove its reliability.

Compact Shelter / gizmag.com
Compact Shelters take just two minutes to deploy and are modular, meaning they can be attached to other units to accommodate larger families.

It has also proved to be suitable in many weather conditions and is water- and wind-proof, Pryor has told reporters.

The shelter features air vents, which can manually open or close for air flow. The design allows for cool air to enter through the base of the shelter while warm air is expelled via a ridge line.

"It has the twin wall profile extrusion, meaning its thermal qualities are amazing during colder climates," Pryor told Gizmag. "We have also specifically teamed up with manufacturers that have the capability to fully recycle the polypropylene by melting it back down and reproducing it. We’re proud to say we’re 100 percent recyclable."


Updates on the launch of Compact Shelters are available on its website.


Tagged categories: Australia; Color + Design; Disasters; Housing; Polypropylene; Residential Construction

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