Architecture students design portable homeless shelters


A WSU (Washington State University) architecture studio of third-year students will put their projects to the test in a homeless shelter design competition in Spokane this week.

The 2017 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Spokane Homeless Shelter Design Competition, sponsored by Integrus Architecture, asks participants to design a discreet, compact and efficient shelter for local homeless people. The event will take place on April 27-28, 2017, and will see submissions from students at WSU and around the region.

In order to create a functioning shelter, the studio spent a lot of time in research and preparation. Abigail Shane, one of the students competing, said “the students were first broken up into groups of two, where they spent time studying everything from refugee camps to origami, trying to get a handle on what is available to the homeless and what elements need to change.”

Because the competition is for homeless people in Spokane, climate was a huge design factor for the shelter. “We actually got to go visit homeless shelters in Spokane in February to feel just how cold it can get,” Shane said.

Shane’s project design takes a new look at an old instrument for inspiration. “My design is like an accordion and how it can fold down into a smaller square,” Shane said, “or potentially a triangle, and fold into a box that can be a backpack.”




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