Emergency shelters made from paper


Quick setup indoor shelters
made from paper

Emergency shelters are imperative to be available when a disaster strikes. All of these are of course temporary, until the permanent shelters are rehabilitated or re-constructed. Even though they are temporary structures, they need to be quick and easy to build as timeliness is key. They have to be safe from all natural hazards, cheap enough to manufacture and build in order to keep them affordable. They also should be considered a semi-permanent structure with little or no burden to their environment and they need to be transportable without difficulty in both small and large quantities. I'm sure you are all thinking about tents right away and I recommend a past make-up program about theShelterBox initiatives which provides an emergency tent shelter and lifesaving supplies for families affected by disasters. In this case though, I am not referring to tents, but rather to structures made out of paper.


Shelters made out of paper

Shigeru Ban with the main
element of his paper structures

Shigeru Ban, a revolutionary architect, redefined the way we would think of emergency shelters by having them built out of paper. His structures would not only meet the above requirements, but even added a couple of items on the list by having his buildings be recyclable as well as quite pleasing to the eye.

How did it all began? Almost 30 years ago, Shigeru Ban started to first experiment with long paper tubes (like the one in the photo above). He discovered that these tubes were not only much stronger than he had imagined, but also easier to waterproof and fireproof than he initially thought. They also turned out to be inexpensive to make, easy to transport, versatily and durable. He setup his first prototype in 1995 in Rwanda with these tubes serving as the frame for a tent.

Shelters in Rwanda with a frame made out of paper tubes.


As his knowledge and experience on the subject grew, he was able to construct other shelters which started to look more like huts, again made out of these paper tubes as you can see from the photo below.

Emergency shelters made out of paper in Kobe, Japan


He was able to help people with these paper structures in Haiti, Sri Lanka, India, Turkey, Taiwan and other countries. He even built a temporary elementary school in Chengdu, China.

Elementary School build from paper tubes - Chengdu, China


Please watch the video below to learn more about Ban's journey and these remarkable structures

Emergency shelters made from paper: 11:43 min

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