An origami-inspired skyscraper design that can be dropped into disaster zones to provide temporary shelter has won a competition. Skyshelter.zip is a foldable structure that can be neatly packaged into a box and carried to disaster zones by helicopter.
Once there, the skyscraper can be anchored to the ground even on unstable soil and almost instantly inflated by a giant helium bal
When dealing with powerful forces, standard crisis management means often proves inefficient.
Whether a particular region is struck by an earthquake, flood, or hurricane, help must arrive quickly. This is often easier to be said than done, as damages to transportation infrastructure or remote localization can make it extremely difficult.
A team of three Polish designers has recently won first prize at the Skyscraper Competition architectural contest. The project was inspired by the ancient Japanese art of paper folding (origami) and designed a foldable skyscraper.
The Skyshelter.zip tries to address these issues by proposing a structure that, while offering a large floor surface, is compact, easy to transport anywhere, and can be deployed with minimum time and workforce requirements. It is meant to serve as a multi-purpose hub for any relief operation.
Based on particular cases’ needs, various functions can be accommodated inside, including a reception area, first aid area, temporary housing, storage, and vertical farm that uses soil gathered during anchoring. An additional advantage of producing a vertical emergency camp is its height, partially achieved thanks to the size of the balloon.
It allows for the structure to serve as a landmark, visible from considerable distances helping guide people affected by catastrophe straight to the relief center.
How does it work?
Skyshelter.zip is moved with helicopters’ help while folded in a box. When it reaches the site, it is secured to the ground, and the internal balloon is filled with helium, becoming the skyscraper’s load-bearing element.
The structural steel wires within the structure pull the lightweight 3D-printed metal slabs upwards, forming the building floors. At the same time, the walls are made of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), a flexible plastic material, and infused with solar cells to meet energy needs.
The number of floors of the final structure varies depending on the quantity of helium poured into it.
When its job is finished, Skyshelter.zip leaves the site exactly as it arrived, folded like origami.
The project was conceived as a structure able to shelter people living in areas struck by natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
With a height of 100 m, the area occupied by Skyshelter.zip is 30 times smaller than that usually required to host tents or containers used in such situations. It can accommodate up to 1,000 people and feature a first aid bay and a vertical farm available to its inhabitants.