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Cardborigami fuses cardboard and origami to shelter the homeless


February 28, 2013

Cardborigami 2.0 weighs 10.5 pounds, and is finished with fire-retardant and water-resistant coatings

Cardborigami 2.0 weighs 10.5 pounds, and is finished with fire-retardant and water-resistant coatings

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Sadly, widespread homelessness isn’t going away any time soon, and until society works out a larger solution, ideas are needed to improve the living conditions of people without a home right now. One such idea put forward is a cardboard-constructed pop-up shelter dubbed “Cardborigami,” which is designed to serve as a transitional shelter until a permanent home is found.

Cardborigami is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based designer Tina Hovsepian, and is said to draw inspiration from the Japanese paper-folding art of origami.

The unit is actually produced in two iterations, with a sizable version 1.0 aimed toward humanitarian crises, while the more portable 2.0 is conceived for single-person use by the homeless. The latter model appears to be the main focus of the designer.

Cardborigami 2.0 weighs 10.5 pounds (almost 5 kg), and is finished with fire-retardant and water-resistant coatings. It folds easily, and can be erected in under a minute by one person – no assembly required.

However, the Cardborigami units only make up part of Hovsepian's approach. The designer is also planning to create the Cardborigami Outreach Center, where homeless people will learn how to use the shelter properly, in addition to receiving all the help they need to move into more permanent accommodation.

At present, Cardborigami is still in the prototype stage, and Hovsepian is seeking to collaborate with like-minded organizations and investors in order to get the project off the ground. The project is also the subject of a crowd-funding campaign on GoFundMe.

The pitch video below offers some background and shows the shelter being erected.

Source: Cardborigami, GoFundMe via Archinect

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

If I only had a nickel for the misguided feelgood projects the average postDoc puts out.

Homelessness is already solved. There are more than enough shelters in any metro area. The problem is that they don't allow alcohol and drugs, and many homeless don't want to be helped.

Does anyone else see the problem with making living - and dying - on the street a comfortable alternative?

Todd Dunning

This would be good in disaster areas. If made out of dual walled polypropylene plastic it would be waterproof, and lighter than cardboard. why not use re-cycled plastic?It could be held down by ropes in case of strong winds.

David Clarke

"If made out of dual walled polypropylene plastic it would be waterproof, and lighter than cardboard. why not use re-cycled plastic?"

The material is called Coroplast, and they have a web page. After an election the Coroplast campaign posters could be taken down, and with duct tape , aluminum foil, plans , knife for cutting, yardstick for measuring , pen for marking you could make your own folding tent & a solar cooker to boot. Ah, yeah there is a web page for DIY solar cookers, some articles include a plan.

Seen something very much like this a few years back, most likely on Gizmag (or Gizmo) , similar structure, similar proposal, but they did'nt have the GIVE US MONEY thing down, quite so well. Oh yeah, while I'm raining on your parade, could you put something out about the geometry, so I can make my own ( I'm not homeless, I just think poorly). Also, all the resourceful homeless reading this in the local Public Libarary, and the urban 3rd worlders on their I-pods would probably put the information to good use.

Dave B13

So, either the homeless find a free cardboard box to live in, or they buy one of these. At the end of the day, they're still living in a cardboard box. Instead of inventing a better cardboard box, how about spending that energy coming up with appropriate and proper housing for those unfortunate enough to find themselves homeless. The very fact that America, one of the wealthiest countries on earth, has a homeless problem is one of its greatest shames.

Dan Parker
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