According to a 2007 report by Christian Aid, the number of refugees worldwide is expected to exceed 1 billion by 2050. Using Finnish materials, our task is to design and build a transitional refugee shelter to be deployed quickly and efficiently in cold climates around the world. Size and weight limitations are important factors in designing a transitional shelter to be carried in pieces by two men, assembled in one day by the inhabitants and for a family of five to live in for a maximum of five years. The result is an open source, innovative low-tech solution that also demonstrates our commitment to sustainable materials, furthering wood building design, and reaching out to help communities around the globe.
The design of the Wood Program shelter – or “Liina” – is based on panelized construction that is assembled using nylon straps (or “liina” in Finnish), such as those found in the transportation of cargo. The use of straps makes the shelter airtight and allows for easy and secure assembly without the use of power tools or electricity. Repeated connections and modular assembly also help in making the entire shelter easy to assemble in one day. The specially designed SIPs (or “structurally insulated panels”) are made of plywood with a Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) wood frame and filled with VITAL wood fiber insulation. The roof of the shelter and adjoining covered terrace is covered in a textile for protection from the sun, rain and snow and can be replaced when the shelter is moved or re-purposed after the crisis. The entire package arrives flat-packed and all components are sized to fit into a standard shipping container.
While the shelter is meant for use in any cold weather emergency situation, initial calculations were made based on site information from the Ararat Region on the borders of Turkey, Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan. This hypothetical starting point gave us the data we needed for calculating wind and snow loads, earthquake requirements, and heating and cooling needs during the year. The design of Liina is meant to adapt to a variety of cultural needs and environmental situations.