Case Studies

Shelter Case Studies


Eco Perch

This small home was designed by the British architecture and construction firm, Blue Forest. The structure is composed of all natural materials. It can be implemented within five days and has a life expectancy of more than 15 years. The design aims to maximize the relationship between interior and exterior space and sleeps four people. The structure is contained in a 6 meter by 8 meter footprint, which is approximately 520 square feet. The estimated cost is $79,000-$90,000.



Ecoperch brochure


Hus Ett

This 270 square foot woodland retreat was designed by the Swedish architect Torsten Ottseiö. The structure rejects orthogonal angles producing an organic shape reminiscent of Sweden’s famous fish, the herring. It is built of local wood, biodegradable, cellulose-coasted cardboard and has a steel structure.


Hus Ett


Meta Pod

 This 125 square foot was designed and built by Jerome Levin in New York in 2013. It is consists of a concrete foundation, hurricane straps reinforcement, LP SmartSide siding panels, asphalt shingles, sheetrock interior, laminate flooring and fiberglass insulation.

MetaPod2 MetaPod

Meta Pod


Small Studio

This small office/art studio was designed and built by Sarah Deeds and John McBride of Deeds Design in Berkely, California. It covers a mere 120 square feet. It is constructed of mostly salvaged or FSC-certified wood along with formaldehyde-free fiberglass and denim insulation.


Small Studio


Primeval Symbiosis

Primeval Symbiosis (Single Pole House) is a design project completed by architecture student Konrad Wójcik in Aalborg, Denmark in 2013. The aim of the project was to design a structure without any footprint on nature. The construction divides this 660 square foot house into four levels with a different functional program on each level. It is constructed from mostly recyclable materials including zinc, wood, CLAY-TEC and paper insulation.

Primeval-Symbiosis2 Primeval-Symbiosis

Primeval Symbiosis


Sol-Duc Cabin

This 350 square foot cabin was designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects and is located in Olympic Peninsula, Washington. It is constructed primarily of unfinished, mild steel and structural insulated panels, along with steel columns supporting the structure. Most of the structure was prefabricated off-site reducing on-site waste. Each of the building shutters can be opened and closed manually using a custom steel rod.


Sol-Duc cabin


Wedge House

This 400 square foot prototype is designed and built by WheelHaus and is available for purchase at a base price of $88,500. It is designed to offer a combination of rustic and modern aesthetic.


Wedge House


Swamp Hut

This hut was designed and built by architects Keith Moskow and Robert Linn of Moskow Linn Architects and is located in Newton, Massachusetts. The structure is composed of 4 huts with a central patio and is 580 square feet. It has a life expectancy of over twenty years. Materials cost about $7,500 and they saved an estimated $15,000 by building it themselves.

SwampHut SwampHut2

Swamp Hut


Delta Shelter

This 1,000 square foot cabin was designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects in 2005 and is located in Mazama, Washington. The structure is essentially a steel box on stilts. A hand crank controls the shutters, which can be opened or completely close off the structure.


Delta Shelter


Window House

This 260 square foot house was designed by Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan in 2013. This weekend getaway faces the Sagami Bay with a full view of Mt. Fuji.


Window House


Mineral House

This 474 square foot micro home was designed by Atelier Tekuto with Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects and is located in Tokyo, Japan.  It is constructed out of reinforced concrete.


MIneral House



This Alpine holiday cabin was designed by Austrian architect Peter Jungmann. It is 484 square feet and sleeps up to four people. The structure is composed almost entirely of wood and is raised off the ground on metal feet. It was given the name Ufogel because it looks like a combination of a UFO and a “vogel” – the German work for bird.




Port-A-Bach Prototype

 This house prototype was designed by Atelierworkshop. It is 320 square feet and is constructed from a shipping container that is elevated on six concrete footings. The walls of the shipping container fold out to crepe a porch and bunk beds.

Port-a-Bach Port-a-Bach2


Playa Vista Shell

Lends itself to an organic shape. Iconic, dynamic and dramatic shapes.  Fabric  architecture design by Michael Maltzan Studios and structural engineers Arup.

The three steel hoops structure the shell’s envelope, a pleated membrane wraps the structure. The thinness of this membrane allows the structure to glow at night. Construction:

Two primary structural rings are supported by a latticework of irregular-appearing meridian steel pipe members that give the appearance, when wrapped in taut fabric, of a zany paper lantern. A 7m-diameter top ring supports an internal gutter ring clad in a sloped fabric skin and also supports the lighting fixtures. The 15m-diameter bottom ring is inclined and supported at four points: two hand like elements at the circular stage and two feet like supports below the stage level at the back.

Despite precise shop assembly of the many curved pipe steel elements, tolerances with the glass fabric skin required the use of a 3D survey technique that measured precise workpoint locations on the steel framing, pre-assembled at the shop, disassembled for transport and reassembled on site.

Fabric:  SHEERFILL V by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics

Tension Structure Fabricator: Fabritec Sctructures, PTFE-coated fiberglass fabric.

kvcu_michael_maltzan_architecture_playa_vista_park_41Bandshell Study 


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Michael Maltzan Architects

Post by: Laida Aguirre

Gypsy King travel trailer

Teardrop shape. 8′ headroom. Material is wood and fabrics. Cost $20000. The design is small, compact, foldable and features an eliptical moon roof.


Folded view


Unfolded ViewFolding-Teardrop


Post by: Laida Aguirre

The Pop-up trailer

Tubular steel frame, laminated aluminum skin walls, three-layer laminated seamless fiberglass Roof membrane prefabricated. Box size: 8′, Exterior open lenght: 16’11, Exterior closed length: 12’2″.







Post by: Laida Aguirre

Lifeguard Tower

The tower is 6′ x 6 at floor level. It is made out of fiberglass. The deck has balsa core aircraft technology. Windows are reinforced with a steel tube wrapped in fiberglass framework. The windows are Opti-grey glass which gived 92% UV screening.  The design deflects wind, withstands extreme weather conditions, makes it very easy to maintain and very durable. Shutters fold down over the windows. Design includes an exterior observation deck, stainless steel railings and a vent for passive cooling.


Doheny lifeguard towerimage018

The Surveyor Junior Pool Tower (Single support pillar example)


Surveyor Apex Tower

Surveyor senior design Specs PDF

Post by: Laida Aguirre


Norwich University:
The Delta T-90 House is a model for affordable and sustainable living. Locally harvested northern white cedar rain screen siding. Flat roof with fully integrated photovoltaic system with panels that work in low levels of sunlight. Thick, 16″ walls with deep-set windows that minimizes heat loss. Ample daylighting and high ceilings. Heat-recovery ventilation system.


Norwich University: Delta T-90 House

DALE is a small house that enables its occupants to live large. Made of two movable, prefabricated modules that open to allow the outdoors in. Sliding solar canopies offset from each module have vertical louver panels for shade, ventilation and privacy. Vinyl exterior skin. Interchangeable platforms can vary from a solar thermal collector to a sports rack to an integrated hammock.


SCI-Arc/Caltech: DALE house

University of Nevada Las Vegas:
The DesertSol house targets the second-home and vacation market. Harnesses abundant sunlight for solar electricity while capturing rain to provide evaporative cooling and irrigation. Digitally fabricated retractable solar shade screens. Complete folding doors to allow indoor activities to spill onto the outdoor deck space. Fire-protection sprinkler system. Reclaimed pre-weathered materials.



University of Nevada Las Vegas: DesertSol house


Built by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright as his winter home and school in the desert. Today, it is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The entire design has a very strong connection to the Arizona desert landscape. The site includes intricate structures built of massive walls fashioned of desert rock embedded in masonry, topped with canvas flaps for ceilings affixed to redwood beams. The units are arranged at various distances and angles connected by terraces, lawns, pools and stairways. Natural light is highly considered; Wright believed natural light aided the work environment so he kept the inside of his building in touch with the natural surroundings.


Taliesin West: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation 


Grand hotel in Yosemite National Park, California, built on the floor of Yosemite Valley. Constructed of stone, concrete, wood and glass. Considered a masterpiece of “parkitecture”, made to feel rustic and one with its surroundings. The site was chosen for its views of many iconic sights in Yosemite and its exposure to the sun allowing for natural heating. Constructed from 5,000 tons of rough-cut granite, 1,000 tons of steel, and 30,000 feet of timber. The ‘wood siding’ and ‘structural timber’ on the exterior is actually formed of stained concrete poured into molds to simulate a wood pattern. Concrete was chosen as the material for the outside ‘wood’ elements to add fire resistance to the hotel.


The Ahwahnee Hotel – Yosemite National Park


The yurt dwelling design originated from Central Asia. The round, semi-permanent tent design has been adapted by Western civilizations through the use of hi-tech materials and advanced engineering to withstand extreme weather conditions.

Features include:
Heavy duty zippers on all windows. Easy snap system for rolling up window covers. Window flaps can convert to window awnings. Door with a window connection for solid seal and fit. Rain cricket (rain diverter) over the door. Wall to roof lacing system. Heavy duty reinforcement at the bottom where the yurt wall fabric attaches to the platform. Smooth, sanded rafter corners to prevent wear and tear fabric.


yurt 1

Yurts & Cabins in Oregon Coast State Parks 


Cimarron Platform Tents:
Sold by the Colorado Yurt Company. Designed to withstand the toughest elements, handcrafted with the finest materials. Less than $10 per square foot. Provides comfort, protection, ease of use and peace of mind. Tent fabric choices: TuffStar – flame retardant, durable acrylic coating that resists water, soil, mildew and UV; Sunforger – marine treated to repel water, resistant to UV and mildew degradation.

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Colorado Yurt Company 


Metal Pods Village:
Three connected pods built vertically. Includes small ventilation screens on every pod, as well as windows for natural light and viewing. Built with bamboo flooring.

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Archimedes Basket:
Uses the truncated icosahedron as the polyhedral shape for the dome and is stabilized by tensegrity – a tension web. Double wall shading with airspace helps disperse heat, keeping the inside cool. The star-shaped elements are made of Spandex and the inner tent is rip stop Nylon. The 3-parts hubs as well as the struts are just one size, making the structure very easy to assemble.


Overhead Tent Shade:
Made of Aluminet shade cloth panels. This structure protects against frost radiation damages and repels pests and thrips. Moderates day/night temperatures and is easy to install due to its light weight and high elasticity.


The Chiton:
This structure is both a shelter and community space which is made of steel tubing and nylon cloth. The Chiton blurs the lines between architectural concept and art installation.



This Is Black Rock City 


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