Digital Origami Emergency Shelter

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Digital Origami Emergency Shelter

Disaster strikes. How can architects help quickly, efficiently, sustainably and sensitively?

LAVA's solution is an origami cave. It was featured in an exhibition in Sydney from 1st until 3rd of September, 2011. 

LAVA’s Digital Origami Emergency Shelter is a concept for an inhabited molecule. The design is based on a water-molecule, referencing the Japanese Metabolist movement`s idea of prefabricated capsules as living space.

The base molecule can be shipped as a flat pack, cut out of local plywood, or dropped off by a helicopter. The interior can then be carved out of wood, cardboard, newspapers or other locally available materials.

Chris Bosse said: ‘the project plays with ideas of prefabrication and personalised inhabitation, as well as stacking of multiple units, while giving an opportunity for individual expression’.

Each unit contains sleeping space for two adults and one child as well as a little space for eating and reading. Battery or solar operated LED light brings the shelter to life, turning it into a lantern, a sign of hope.

For the exhibition LAVA created a scale model, made from CNC cut plywood sheets. In a real situation the flat pack would be folded into an origami molecule and filled with locally available material.

The Emergency Shelter exhibition featured shelters by local and international architects. The exhibition highlights the need for emergency shelters in disaster zones and the role of the design and construction industry in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Other Australian and international architects who designed shelters for the exhibition include Ateliers Jean Nouvel, PTW Architects, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, Cox, Koichi Takada Architects, Sou Fujimoto and Terunobu Fujimori. The Emergency Shelter Exhibition raised awareness and aid for the thousands of
people who have been displaced by Japan’s natural disasters.

It was on display at Customs House Sydney, Australia from 1‐3 September 2011 and at Sydney College of the Arts during the 2011 Sydney Architecture Festival ( ) from 20th‐30th October, 2011.

Desription by architects


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Building Activity

  • Katerina Vaseva
    Katerina Vaseva updated 95 media, added a digital reference and updated
    about 6 years ago via
  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova updated
    about 6 years ago via
  • Iain Hughes
    Iain Hughes commented
    A very interesting and impressive design, but hardly an appropriate or efficient answer to an emergency shelter surely?
    about 6 years ago via