The Kashmir earthquake of 2005 produced images seen around the world – depictions of the absolute devastation and havoc caused by a natural disaster. It was during this time that Harry Skinner, a retired architect in Bellingham, Washington, came across a photo of a woman covered in snow, nursing her baby. Like so many others, he was unwilling to accept the standard of shelter made available to displaced persons after such a traumatic experience.
“It was alarming [to see that photo],” says Skinner, “And I started to think, ‘Now wouldn’t it be great to come up with something innovative that could be used in situations like this and for all kinds of other things.’”
Recovery Huts Founder, Harry Skinner
Inspired by the rapid-delivery fabrication of large sheet steel auto body parts, Skinner began researching durable composite fiberglass technology, resulting in the Recovery Huts. Each basic Hut has an 85 ft2 footprint and six feet of headroom around the interior perimeter. It consists of four identical, 60 lb. stackable panels that two people can snap together in less than 30 minutes. Additional panels enable the basic Hut to evolve into an expanded Hut as well as the possibility of family clusters or “village” groupings which may be desirable in some cultures.
Basic Hut Prototype
Example of “cluster” or “grouping” Huts
As demonstrated in areas such as Haiti or New Orleans, the rebuilding process in towns and communities after a natural disaster can be slow. The modular design of the Recovery Huts would allow for them to be quickly taken apart and moved from one location to another. This would be ideal for creating long-term temporary housing in areas where people have been displaced by natural disasters or wars and where rebuilding communities will happen in stages.
Recovery Huts, a non-profit venture, will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in the Fall of 2014 through Kickstarter. The goal will be to produce a certain number of market-ready Huts that can be sent to areas of need both abroad and in the United States for real-life testing.
“Kickstarter demonstrates a latent interest in people who are busy with their own lives and don’t really see themselves as being great big contributor-investors but say, ‘Hey, I think this is a good idea,’” says Skinner. “People want to be involved and with this type of project they can do so with relatively minor contribution.”
Questions? Email us at RecoveryHuts@hotmail.com.
-Written by Heather Wallace, Director Marketing & Promotion for Recovery Huts
As the world’s climate changes and natural disasters increase in frequency, versatile and quick-to-deploy emergency shelters can mean the difference between life and death for displaced populations. Seeking to provide for this need, Recovery Huts offers a line of instant shelters that can be set up in 30 minutes by a single person. Each shelter can be delivered in 4 stackable sections that weigh no more than 60 pounds each, and if the 85 sq. ft footprint of each hut is not enough for a household, extender sections enable an entire community of huts to be interconnected…
Let’s open up a dialogue on shelter design and performance and invite current shelter providers and design institutions, to an exposition to be held in a strategic location somewhere in the world and make field-performance comparisons and evaluations. Emergency shelters need to adapt to variable physical and security climates and cope with all kinds of issues with social, political, anthropological, meteorological, geological, and terror security ramifications. The challenge for such an expo includes evaluating every aspect of design, material and production technology, logistics, costing, finance, deployment, maintenance, repair and end-of-life disposition, recycling and, of course, occupant satisfaction. There is already an impressive list of likely candidates… a list too long to repeat here. The risk is not in inviting too many, but too few.
The need for world-wide relief from disaster suffering is immense and increasing. It is not now being fully met. The Recovery Hut is our answer but pulling together such a gathering can only be a hugely exciting shelter renaissance not to be missed. We hope you will agree and will support this event so please let us have your ideas and input –log on and join our team to help pull it off. But remember, we’re seeking your advice here. Please email us and let us know about your own organizations. What are your own plans and obstacles; your goals, aspirations and successes?