When we last heard from David Lopez and his students at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) they were in the process of constructing a prototype of the Transitional Shelter for Disaster Relief in Haiti. The project started in a Design|Build studio in the Spring of 2011. Acquiring funds to prototype the design became a challenge. Students spent the summer and fall of 2011 completing the design and reaching out to organizations for donations and materials. WorldwideShelters.org and Whiting Turner Contracting Company gave critical donations that made it possible to begin construction. Follow us after the break to catch up on the status of the project. The design was developed to accommodate local needs and local engagement by the community that it would serve. In regards to materials, the students conducted research to develop fabrication strategies of local materials to ease cost and construction. For the prototype the students chose to skin the shelter in baby bamboo. Students were familiar with the use of this material, as it is common to the design department, and this helped them test the ease of construction when the material was one that they were comfortable working with. Structural sheathing, which was marine grade plywood, was put on the interior of the structural frame. This could be painted or stained to personal tastes. The design employed standard hinges to ease construction and material availability, as well.
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