Scholarly article on topic 'Transformable Shelter: Evaluation and New Architectural Design Proposals'

Transformable Shelter: Evaluation and New Architectural Design Proposals Academic research paper on "Civil engineering"

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{Shelter / Temporary / Foldable / Sliding / Application / "Modular components"}

Abstract of research paper on Civil engineering, author of scientific article — Maziar Asefi, Faegeh Ahangar Sirus

Abstract The current shelters mostly are difficult and time- consuming to be erected and are usually made of heavy materials. Many of them are not foldable in a configurable geometrical order which make their transportation more difficult and their storage for future use is mostly problematic. This paper by evaluating major existing shelters, proposes a lightweight, foldable and modular shelter that can be replaced, repaired and stored in a very short period of time. The proposed structure has the capability to be expanded by adding more space to its ends and sides. Considering that triangle is a stable form, this shelter is consisted of triangular parts which are moveable both on upper rails and the rails on which modules can be moved and opened in a sliding mechanism on the field. This system can meet different topographical and environmental conditions and also different functions. The structure, in addition to its main function as a temporary shelter, can be used for temporary exhibitions and also for many temporary applications.

Academic research paper on topic "Transformable Shelter: Evaluation and New Architectural Design Proposals"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 51 (2012) 961 - 966

ARTSEDU2012

Transformable Shelter: Evaluation and New Architectural Design

Proposals

Dr. Maziar Asefi a, Faegeh Ahangar Sirus b

aTabriz Islamic Art University, Tabriz, Iran bTabriz Islamic Art University, Tabriz, Iran _amazi1017@yahoo.com, b hasti_arch64@yahoo.com_

Abstract

The current shelters mostly are difficult and time- consuming to be erected and are usually made of heavy materials. Many of them are not foldable in a configurable geometrical order which make their transportation more difficult and their storage for future use is mostly problematic. This paper by evaluating major existing shelters, proposes a lightweight, foldable and modular shelter that can be replaced, repaired and stored in a very short period of time. The proposed structure has the capability to be expanded by adding more space to its ends and sides. Considering that triangle is a stable form, this shelter is consisted of triangular parts which are moveable both on upper rails and the rails on which modules can be moved and opened in a sliding mechanism on the field. This system can meet different topographical and environmental conditions and also different functions. The structure, in addition to its main function as a temporary shelter, can be used for temporary exhibitions and also for many temporary applications.

Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Ayse Qakir Ilhan. Keywords: Shelter, Temporary, Foldable, Sliding, Application, Modular components

1. Introduction

A tent as a temporary shelter plays an important role in responding to different architectural requirements. There is now a huge demand for temporary spaces for exhibition, care and camping units that are required to be used in different locations in different period of times. The current shelters mostly are difficult and time- consuming to be erected and also they are usually made of heavy materials. Many of them are not foldable in a configurable geometrical order which make their transportation more difficult and their storage for future use is mostly problematic. All of these mean that there is a necessity for the development of lightweight and transportable units that are able to meet different expectations and requirements and have the ability to be store for future use and be deployed in a short period of time (Ergunay, 1999).

The paper aims to propose and design a temporary shelter with a modular system in order to overcome the expected building shortage after a possible disaster and to create an easy foldable unit that folds in a short period of time(Asefi 2010). This paper by considering the main existing temporary shelters that use foldable and assembly mechanisms will propose a new solution that is easy to be folded and transported and at the same time has a capability to be expanded as required.

1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Ay§e Qakir ilhan doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.08.270

2. Design and Evaluation Criteria for Temporary Shelters

In order to make the process of selection easier, architects need to set design evaluation criteria at an early stage of the design process. These criteria derive from the function and size of the structure, design context, type of use -temporary or permanent - expected lifecycle and criteria that are related to the particular project. The skill of a good designer of such buildings, is to establish a balance between requirements and constraints such as available resources, financial issues, structural and operational concerns and maintenance issues (Asefi, 2010).

Main design and evaluation criteria are under sum of constructional, humance and sociological necessities required for a temporary shelter and living unit. This table was organised based on a holistic understanding of major primary and required aspects of the design of temporary, multi-functional spaces.

3.Examination of the existing shelters

In general ,there are two main types of shelers in terms of material ,use and construction technology.1 -shelter with transformable elements (use both rigid and flexible materials), 2-shelter with non-transformable elements (use rigid materials). following table shows some examples of both types and their main characteristics.

Table 1.compersion of shelter types

Rigid forms Flexible forms

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Main characteristics Main characteristics

- Large Volume - Security - Can Use recyclable materials • Energy efficiency in production and use - Ease of assembly but takes time - Less environmental pollution - Ease of manufacturing - Expandability - Less flexibility Heavy • Flexibility in form - Foldability - Ease of Transportation - User s aesthetic preferences - Using recyclable materials - Visual communication - Easy of assembly - Difficult to be expanded - Light weight

3.1.Shelter with transformable elements (use both rigid and flexible materials)

As this research is to propose a new type of transformable shelter, only the second group of shelters are evaluated.

3.1. l.Folding bamboo house

A simple elegant design, the Folding Bamboo House, designed by Ming Tang, is constructed from bamboo and recycled paper and can be cheaply manufactured (Fig. 1). Tang designed the geometric folding structure after a 7.9 earthquake hit central China. The structures can be folded into many different shapes, allowing a range of structures to be created. This shelter due to its elegant design and re-configurability of is structure is suitable for temporary application especially exhibition spaces (wildday, 2011).

Figure 1.Folding bamboo house Figure 2.Recover accordion shelter

3.1.2.Recover accordion shelter

This emergency shelter is super easy to transport and set up requires only one person. Made out of polypropylene, the shelter can form many shapes and provide relief for up to 4 people, while rainwater can be collected from the folds(fig.2). While it doesn't include a utility hookup, beds or renewable energy generation, it does provide a quick roof over disaster victims heads. Apart from emergency usage of the shelter, it can be used as a temporary shelter for exhibitions (inhabitat . 2011)

3.1.3.Portable, retractable tent

Its PVC cover is always attached to the frame, preventing the fabric from becoming dirty or damaged from contact with the ground(fig.3). The tent's designer is currently testing the durability of the membrane during folding and is developing removable sides for more flexible event spaces. This is -Flexibility in form -foldablitiy-easily portable-users aesthetic preferences-no harmful emission related to material -visual communication-optimization in action- space interaction-ease of assembly (groups.google, 2011). By this comparison in the both type of tents or shelters ,we realize that the flexible shelters are more similar to our goals. So we can classify some important criteria which the proposed tent should have them.

4.General description of the proposed transformable shelter

During our research for the design of an innovative shelter, we found that designing a deployable and temporary shelter with a foldable mechanism to be used in different situations requires a great understanding of the geometric conditions of the connected elements[3]. This understanding will determine whether or not the proposed structure can actually be deployed in a compact state. In mobile shelter system proposed in this paper , we had 3 basic goals which are summarized as:1-The ability to be folded and opened in a simple way and in a very short period of time(Ease of transportation), 2-Expansion and flexibility , 3- Comparability and ease of erection and durability of the structural and covering materials,4-Good visual appearance.The proposed shelter can be used in disastrous area to temporarily settle the survivors. It also can be used for temporary exhibitions or for the covered camping spaces. This structure can be differ in size and material in term of different usage and scale. It is lightweight and uses modular components that can be replaced, repaired and stored in a short period of time.

4.1. Geometry and dimensions

The geometry of the proposed system is derived from a simple triangular folding pattern. This tent is composed of modules which are different in dimension depending on the position of each unit and the overall composition of the structure. In this project ,the highest point of the tent is 3 meters and the lowest point is 2.6 meters. Span and height of modules can also be different in terms of their situation, however in the proposed tent the most of the spans are about 3 meters. total covered area in on linear arrangement is about50 m2.

4.2.Structural configuration

Considering that triangle is a stable form, this shelter is consisted of triangular parts which are moveable both on upper rails and the rails on which modules can be moved and opened in a sliding mechanism on the field .Each module is consisted of two triangular parts which is foldable through inside(fig.4). There are two smaller units between these major modules, which support the major modules and at the same time cover the gaps between the main units. In addition to this task, they can move to sides in order to give different opening in the shelter and so

Figure 3.Portable, retractable tent

that the shelter can take different shape during a course of a day and different visual configuration as required (fig.5).

Figure 4. Main components of the proposed

shelter

Figure 5.Creating different opening by sliding movement of the minor parts

4.3. Transportation

The proposed structure can be folded to a small bundle for ease of transportation. The whole unit can be closed in a very simple way by moving each major module toward inside and under the following module. Each 2-side triangular unit runs through wheels on an inclined rail which is placed on the both side of the structure. For a structure including five major triangular units, the folded state can take about one fifth of the whole structural volume. In order to control the folding process more accurately a guiding rail bar is used on top of the structural modules which is consisted of smaller sliding parts. This can avoid shaking the units during the movement and can prevent from damaging the triangular parts and moreover it allows the structure to be able to withstand the repeated opening and closing.

4.4.Deployment

Deployment process is the same as the closing process. This tent has the ability to be fixed in a required state during the deployment process. When it is needed, it is possible to connect additional modules to the primary structure in order to have larger spaces. In the small size of the tent there is no need to other energy resources to open and close it and it is possible to deploy and close it with only two workers (fig.7).

Figure 6.Steps of folding

Figure 7.Ability to be combine with other modules

4.5.Detailed design

In order to develop the proposal, we present different alternatives. In figure 8, the main rail which the modules are moved on is shown. It is necessary to understand that each module should place on a specific rail and get stabilised by means of anchors (moved along with module by means of wheels)placed on the rail. so that each unit can move and fold completely without any obstruction. Details of the ground rails are shown in fig. 9. As it is shown, the ground rail is consisted of several parts that can be connected to each other on-site. This rail system does not slide or move during the transformation process as if it was the case it was not possible to come the maximum compactablity as explained earlier. Therefore the rail was designed in such a way to be disassembled after the tent comes to its final closed state.

Figure 8. Details of the rails on which triangular parts move on them

Figure 9. Detail of ground rail

Fig.10 shows the detail of secondary units placed in between the major modules and are connected to them and move in a sliding manner toward each other. Fig. 11 shows the detail of secondary units connected to major modules and move in a sliding manner manually to cover spaces in between the main parts. The detail of the upper rail is shown in fig. 12. Each module move on the inner part of the upper rail by means of wheels placed on the rails.

Figure 11. Detail of flat supporters(secondary units) in between main parts

Figure 10.Detail of secondary rail connecting to the rail

Figure 12. Detail of upper rail

5.Functional optimization

In order to develop the proposed design and optimize it functionally, the sides of every module can be curved so that the operational space of the inside of each module can be improved .Fig. 13 Shows two proposed shelters in compact position. As shown, the shelter with flat elements is changed to the shelter with curved parts and although apparently their movement mechanisms are similar, there are some structural differences between them in terms of the way the force is transferred to the foundation. In the module with curved components the structural stability is improved as well as the architectural functionality of the interior space. However, it is necessary to mention that, the new proposal has less foldability in comparison to the shelter with flat modules due to the curvature of its moving panels (Fig. 14). In this shelter similar to the previous one, depending on the functional necessities, the required height of the shelter and the size of the modules, the rail configuration and the connections can be changed.

Figure 14. The built model of the tent with curved parts

6. Summary

In this paper, a creative idea has been put forward for a deployable temporary shelter, used for different applications, especially as temporary dwelling and exhibition spaces. Than main advantage of this design that makes it different from existing temporary shelters are the way that it opens and deploys and its ability to be closed in a very compact state. The modular design also makes the repair and maintenance of the structure more effective and efficient compared to ordinary temporary shelters. It is also possible to expand the structure as required by connecting additional units. One of the major characteristics of the design is also the integration of the structural and covering components in such a way that there is no need to add covering materials when structure is set up. With understanding that, the structure is to experience repeated folding and deployment, this ability can speed up the deployment process and at the same time reduce the cost of repairs and maintenance. The storage of the structure is also quite simple as the compacted structure depending on the number of the modules it used can be compacted to about one fifth to one tenth of its original size (the maximum module used is ten in this example). This feature not only makes the transportation easy but also will minimize the malfunction and defects that may occur during deployment and folding process. The use of both upper and ground rails give the users an opportunity to control the deployment process to prevent the defects that usually happens during the folding of ordinary temporary shelters. The integration of the structural components and covering materials also speeds up the deployment process and at the same time reduce the cost of maintenance and repairs. The proposed triangular modules are also able to be stabilized in different configuration during deployment so that with the same number of modules various sizes with different opening are possible. This paper also shows that by curving the structural and non-structural panels of the proposed shelter, it is possible to optimise the architectural functionality of the system and at the same time keeping its structural stability. However, use of the curved panel decrease the degree of foldability of the structure and affect its transportation and storage.

References

Asefi, M. (2010),Transformable and Kinetic Architectural Structures, , VDM Verlag Publisher, Germany

Asefi, M. & Kronenburg, R. (2006)," An Architectural Evaluation of Transformable Roof Structures", International Conference On Adaptable Building Structures, Caracas, Venezuela

Sener. S.M. and Altun, M.C. (2009), Design of a post disaster temporary shelter unit , ATU, Vol. 6, No.2

Ergunay, O.,(1999), "A Perspective of Disaster in Turkey: Issues andProspects, Urban Settlements and Natural Disasters", Proceedings of UIA Region II Works, Chamber of Architects of Turkey. www. shelterhaitti. org, 10/7/2011

http://groups.google.com/group/shelterhaiti2010/web/100219_Shelter_TechnicalGuidance.doc, 11/6/2011 www.wildday.co.uk, 10/7/2011

http://inhabitat.com/emergency-shelters-and-disaster-relief-for-the-people-of-haiti, 12/5/2011