The American Institute of Architects Small Project Practitioners Knowledge Community held a design competition that asked architects and architecture students to design a descreet, compact, and efficienct shelter for the homeless. The goal of the competition, called "A Safe Place," was to develop a simple, safe, and secure place for an individual to sleep and secure their belongings.
Those participating in the competition had to submit a design in any of the three categories: Un-secured shelter, semi-secure shelter, and shared facility. The submissions were required to be inexpensive to construct (less than $500 a unit), easily constructed without specialized equipment, temporary with no foundation, and protect the occupant from the outside elements through all four seasons.
Here are the winners:
Competition Award Recipient
Rolling Shelter (Un-Secured Shelter)
Eduardo Lacroze, AIA
The shelter utilizes a shopping cart as a core component and means of transportation. With saddlebags for storage on one side and the other consisting of a foldout shelter, the entire unit can be easily transported. In shelter mode, it gives a structured enclosure that incorporates usage and storage within an insulated, weatherproofed, and vandal protected shell. The shelter can be assembled with a screwdriver with does not require any advanced building knowledge. The unit is equipped with a dual rolling Thermarest pad and built-in floor liner that coupled to the high R-value of the component panels themselves, provide adequate levels of thermal insulation.
Following the 2015 AIA National Convention in Atlanta, the shelter was donated to the local non-profit The Mad Housers, for use by their clients and program participants.
Bankhead Box-Up (Semi-Secured Shelter)
Gregory Tsark, AIA, and Jessica Boudreaux
Tsark Architecture, LLC
An elevated box provides a sense of security, rather than resting at or near the ground level. The space beneath provides weather protection for a bicycle or other items. The box area is 8 feet long, 5 feet wide and 6 feet tall. Polycarbonate side panels provide ample daylighting while obscuring visibility for semi-privacy. Full privacy can be easily added with interior curtains. Security is achieved by locking down the top plank with a padlock and hasp. In the warmer months, upper planks may be removed to provide ventilation.
Sheltering Chicago (Semi-Secured Shelter)
Jeff Bone, AIA
Landon Bone Baker Architects
The shelter is intended to provide basic protection for one person. It will help keep them alive in extreme weather, providing a safe and secure temporary home in which to sleep and store a few personal belongings. The shelters are portable and can be transported around the city to available sites on a flatbed truck or trailer. The shelter module lends itself easily to be set up as a toilet room, food pantry, etc. when facilities are otherwise unavailable. This low threshold alternative to traditional ‘emergency shelter’ housing allows advocates and non-profits to focus on critical outreach, connecting the homeless with services and permanent housing.
The 2015 AIA SPP Small Project Design Competition Jury included:
• Nick Hess, The Mad Housers
• William Carpenter, FAIA, Lightroom
• Bart Shaw, Shaw Architects (Winner of the 2014 SPP Pop-Up)
• Joe A, Mad Housers Client
• Doug Hannah, AIA, Young Architects Forum representative