Modular (emergency) Shelters

It has been a while since I was active on these forums so I have a feeling this probably has been suggested already. Anyway, here is my 2 cents.

So my grandpa has a shed in the back of his garden. It’s made of modular concrete plates and poles like this. This made me think. Maybe we can use this idea to make modular shelters for people who need it. It can be produced on site or remote and shipped in.

The poles can be made pretty easily just like the plates. The plates maybe should be shaped more like the walls of shipping containers to give more structural integrity. For the roof I’m not sure how to tackle that part.
Now off course square of rectangular is an option but you could also look into a hexagon shape for a yurt like construction.

Let me know what you think about this 🙂


Hi @n-w-b

Do you mean like these?


Yes there is some cool things going on. Personal I think simpler is better. The less moving the parts the less it can break 😉

Yes I think that could be one way to use precious plastic. I was thinking more of a all plastic kind of shelter but you also could make more panels for the ikea shelter. Thanks for the idea 🙂

I think that would be a great idea for anything ‘Ikea’ in general.
There’s a lively ikea hackers community that could help realise such a project.

Having a plastic smithy in any relief camp might indeed be a good idea, could not just fix the shelters, but anything plastic.
Plastic Smithing is however such a novel concept it does not even have a wikipedia page…


I was wondering about heat press moulds for IKEA-compatible panels – that could be used to extend the life of, and carry out local repairs on, UNHCR shelters.  I’m guessing there is a lot of scrap plastic packaging at relief camps (anybody here familiar with refugee camp operations?) – some of which might be suitable for processing in a containerized PP workshop.

Would also make for interesting greenhouses.
Why don’t they sell them at a premium so they can give away more?


There is some crazy stuff going on in the Tiny House movement that might answer a lot of these questions, like:

Could be used not just for shelters, but also for e.g. temporary ‘hotels’ at festivals , or to rent out as an AirBnB, or to live in yourself and rent out your house, or, or, or…