Temporary Dwelling Units Offer ‘Shade & Shelter’ From the Sandstorm

Friday, September 28, 2012
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An intelligent, temporary dwelling that automatically responds to weather

For his thesis project at Shenkar College of Design, located in Ramat Gan just outside Tel Aviv in Israel, industrial design student Ohad Lustgarten created a six foot-tall prototype of Shade & Shelter, a lightweight, low cost dwelling unit designed to provide protection from the elements. Though Lustgarten had desert environments in mind when he designed the unit’s flexible folding slats to shield against sandstorms, sun and cold, Shade & Shelter could work equally well for campers along a hiking trail.

The slats are fitted along a flexible fiberglass pole separated by rubber stoppers, allowing the unit to open out like a wing during warm weather and be pulled inward again with an aluminum handle. The one to one model, made out of cardboard, is roughly six feet-tall at the highest point, tall enough to stand up in and wide enough around for a small group of people to lie down flat. The white one to ten scale model is made from extruded polymer. Ideally, the slats would also be fitted with photovoltaics to power small devices. In both models, the narrower upper slats can channel rain fall down into the wider lower slats, which curve slightly on one side to facilitate the flow of water. The collected rainwater could then be purified for cooking and drinking

One of the most exciting challenges that Lustgarten is working on is a flexible pole made from a class B metal (metals that form soft acids with covalent bonds for stable products with soft bases, as opposed to class A metals that form hard acids with ionic bonds) that would respond to changes in temperature and open and close on its own. This means that as you wake up in the morning, the wing would gradually open out as the sun rose and the temperature increased, and would close again as the temperature lowered in the evening. Given the nature of the metal, however, the user could easily pull the wing closed if, for example, the temperature was high but there was a sandstorm.

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