28 February 2013

Shelter Prototype built at Gipsy Lane

The shelter prototype at Gypsy Lane campus

A prototype building to house people who have lost homes in a disaster has been built on the Gipsy Lane Site.

The aim is to use the building as a research project to help understand how to construct better post-disaster shelters. The project was instigated by shelter specialist and builder Jamie Richardson, a visiting lecturer on the Brookes Shelter after Disaster Postgraduate Certificate. It was designed by Jemma Houston, a former student on the shelter course, and current Brookes students helped build it. The students will analyse the construction and try out alterations as part of their course.

The shelter has been built to explore systems and methods of construction that can be achieved with basic carpentry skills and hand tools. The aim is to identify robust and simple construction details that can be applied to any building using timber. The structure is built using two sizes of timber and one size of plywood so that the logistics of supplying materials can be simplified.

The shelter can be found adjacent to Gipsy Lane main entrance car park, close to the library. It will be on site until the end of May this year.

The building design is typical in size and layout to those built as homes after disasters such as in Haiti and other countries. The Brookes students will investigate how the structure could be further improved through assessing the assembly of the building and proposing alterations to make it more resistant to specific hazards such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and cyclones. The project will contribute to on-going research in post disaster shelter at the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP).

Charles Parrack, senior lecturer in construction technology and subject coordinator, commented, “It is great to give our students an opportunity to work on a real construction project, with real world implications, linking in with private sector consultants. We hope this research will contribute to better post disaster shelter practice”.

The shelter has also proven to be a useful cross disciplinary tool; it has been used as a performance space for Fine Art student Ryan C. Quarterman.

More information about the Shelter after Disaster Postgraduate Certificate.

For more information on the project or on the Brookes Shelter after Disaster course please contact Charles Parrack at