Foster + Partners has designed some of the most famous buildings in the world and, if one of its recent designs is anything to go by, it may soon have buildings on other planets, too. The firm has designed a shelter for up to four astronauts on Mars that would be 3D printed by a fleet of robots.
Slovenian architectural firm OFIS recently teamed up with AKT II engineers and design students from Harvard Graduate School of Design to create an innovative alpine shelter. Located amid the harsh mountaintops of Mount Skuta in Slovenia, the new shelter replaces a rusty 50 year old bivouac (storm refuge) and provides humble accommodation for up to eight hikers. Perched amid an extreme alpine environment, the modular shelter was broken down into three sections and flown into its new home by helicopter.
Boston-based startup Getaway was recently formed by a group of Harvard
students to provide tiny houses for rent to those wanting to escape the
grind or give tiny living a test-drive (something we'd recommend trying
before diving in with both feet). Its latest diminutive dwelling, the
Lorraine, offers up to two occupants a comfortable off-grid writer's
retreat, well-provisioned with everything that's required to get in the
mood to create.
Turkish design practice Designnobis has produced an interesting concept for a pop-up shelter, dubbed Tentative, that features a fiberglass roof and floor, and tent-like weather-resistant fabric walls. Though still in the early stages of development and thus lacking in some hard details, the compact shelter shows promise thanks to its dramatically decreased size when in transportation.
Good ideas tend to stand the test of time and the yurt is no exception, hence the number of modern options on the market. Aurora, Colorado-based Freedom Yurt-Cabins offers its own updated take on the nomadic dwelling, with improvements including energy-efficient windows, a proper front door, and modern insulation. It's available in a number of sizes, with the smallest 217 sq ft (20 sq m) model starting at just under US$12,000.
The ancient art of origami has inspired all kinds of modern technological endeavors, from drones to bridges to batteries and low-cost emergency housing. The latest project to join the fold comes from US-based engineers who have developed a deployable shelter that can be shipped on a standard military pallet, improving the quality of life for soldiers while cutting energy consumption in the process.
Created to ease the plight of displaced refugees, Re:Build is a basic scaffold-based construction system that can be used to build a home, school, clinic, or whatever else is required. It makes use of readily-available onsite materials like sand, gravel, and earth, and enables the refugees themselves to construct the structures.
Jono Williams has taken the concept of the man-cave to new heights. Looking something like a giant steel lollipop, Williams' Skysphere is a solar-powered, Android-controlled hideaway perched high above the New Zealand countryside that would put even the most painstakingly decked-out shed to shame.
Tiny houses tend to be highly functional and efficient. The shelters at an exhibition in Amsterdam, however, focus less on functionality and more on artistic license. UrbanCampsite Amsterdam features a host of "extraordinary sleeping accommodations" in an "exciting landscape."
As well as facing the dangers of exposure to bad weather, homeless people are more likely to be victims of violent crime, theft and abuse from the public. A new conceptual shelter is aimed at tempering these dangers. Homes for the Homeless proposes cheap pods that attach to the sides of buildings.