Innovative Pod offers cheap, durable living space alternative
By Mike Hanlon
June 4, 2004
The Icosa shelter system utilises innovative design, commodity materials and fast, simple construction from pre-cut materials to create a cost-effective shelter solution for humanitarian and relief situations. Applying the geodesic principles pioneered by Buckminster Fuller, the Icosa system is capable of withstanding high-winds and a range of temperatures and a consumer version - "The Pod" - has now emerged in the US.Two commercial models are available: the 7m wide Deca Pod and the 3.5m Ico Pod, both of which follow the icosahedron design.
The Deca Pod has a 10-sided base and is made up of 40 triangular panels with 40 tetra windows. With enough space for four to six people, the Deca Pod takes around 7 hours to set up compared with the 2 person Ico Pod, which at half the size, takes about half as long to erect.The pod design consists of large triangular panels, each formed by folding 3 identical flat sheets of material together. The result is a triangular panel with a hollow void inside to facilitate convective air-flow or insulation depending on the weather conditions. Paper and polypropylene materials are used for the panels, which are fitted together to form the foundation or "Base Ring" as well as the superstructure.Properly assembled and anchored, pods are resilient to moderately high winds, ice and snow (although heavy snow and ice loads are not recommended).Icosa Village meanwhile, is looking to partner with humanitarian organizations to create "work relief" programs in locations that have large populations of displaced people. The goal is to deliver a dignified and emotionally uplifting space for humans as well as adequate shelter whilst maximizing the value of dollars spent locally.Icosa Village will provide technology, direction, and supervision to the partner organization with the goal of establishing localized shelter manufacturing operations which utilize materials and labor from the respective local economy.