The COVID-19 pandemic has shown yet again how designers are needed to reimagine emergency shelters. With an estimated 900 million people around the world to remain at home because of the virus, there are also a number of hospitals without the necessary beds to treat infected patients. At the same time, the need for emergency shelters is tied to many types of crisis, not just this virus or a pandemic.
Emergency Services: The Latest Architecture and News
Eco-Friendly Insulation Offers Thermal Performance, Sound Absorption and Fire Resistance at the Same Time
With the aim of promoting more efficient ways to isolate and protect building envelopes, the Chilean team Rootman has developed Thermoroot; a biodegradable and 100% natural insulation made from roots without genetic modifications or chemical additives. These roots make up what the company is calling a Radicular Mattress which, in addition to thermally and acoustically insulating the walls, floors, and ceilings of buildings, it is fire resistant.
"Within humanitarian responses, programmatically, children often become invisible." (Marc Sommers)
The Syrian crisis has forced thousands of families to leave their homes in search of safe places to continue with their lives. Many families have moved to Lebanon, where the UN has raised a series of informal settlements. While effective in providing shelter, they don't provide specific solutions for children, many of whom have had their studies interrupted and don't have public spaces equipped to play sports and interact with other kids.
In response to this situation, the architects of CatalyticAction have designed and built a playground in one of the schools developed by The Kayany Foundation and American University of Beirut's Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service, involving children throughout the entire process and allowing the structure to be easily disassembled, transported and either reassembled or repurposed.
Dubai, home of the Burj Khalifa and a significant number of the 21st century's tallest buildings, is set to match its futuristic skyline with an equally futuristic emergency response service. At the recent Dubai Airshow, the city's Directorate of Civil Defence announced a deal with New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft to bring jetpacks to their firefighting arsenal. Intended to be used in a "first responder role," the jetpacks will give firefighters access to higher locations and be able to navigate the tight spaces between buildings that helicopters can't access.