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25 amazing shelter designs for the homeless

shelter homeless

shelter homeless

Losing everything to disasters and becoming homeless is one of the hardest things to adjust to. These shelters not only provide a roof over the head, but also save people from traumatic situations. Providing a safe haven at the end of the day and in situations when needed the most, these shelters are ingeniously talented. Some of these are talented at being modular, but all are talented at displaying innovation. These shelters offer housing in times when you have nowhere to turn to.

1) Home Dome

home dome

A striking innovation by a 12 year old boy, Max Wallack, it is a shelter for the homeless. It is made from plastic, wire and packing peanuts. This is a form of Mongolian Yurt, featuring a built in bed.

2) U-M Emergency Shelter

emergency shelter1

Designed by Profesor Allen Samuels of University of Michigan, it takes inspiration from stack-able plastic beds, which are used in prisons. These temporary huts are made of light weight biodegradable and easy to clean plastic. It is easily portable, as it has wheels.

3) Metaplate


Designed by Kelvin Yong, it is a prefabricated modular system that provides spacious shelter to disaster victims. It is designed to accommodate short term and long term needs. It also comes with a possibility to accommodate piping, drainage and other living facilities.

4) Box


Designed by Can Koseoglu, this box tent can be easily folded to be transported. It provides instant shelter to the victims during calamities. It is made of recyclable corrugated cardboard and polyester. It is lightweight and durable.

5) All in one mobile home

all in ne mobile home

This mobile home contains an area, which contains recyclable materials that can be sold, as one of the means to support themselves. A secret bin stores their private belongings. There is also an optional fold out cot.

6) Room-Room

room room

Designed by Encore Heureux and G studio, it is a post disaster portable shelter. It is designed to be pulled along by a person or can be attached to a bike.

7) Sanctuary


Taking inspiration from the aftermath of Indian Ocean Earthquake, this shelter is a solution to natural catastrophes in any region, which is susceptible to Tsunamis. It was envisioned by Barometrik, partly Swedish based concept design firm. This biodegradable shelter pops open without the help of any tools

8) LIFElink


Designed by Jordan Cleland, it has a self skinning foam that expands on opening the package. Each small unit in the shelter has the capacity for two persons at a time. It can also be zipped to another, creating large shelter that can accommodate 12 people at a time. It allows friends and families to stay together, providing sense of security.

9) Sphere


Designed by Felix Stark, it provides for physical and psychological needs. The center of the sphere is made out to be a social place, which offers an opportunity come in contact with each other. The families and inhabitants are provided with security and companionship without sacrificing the privacy.

10) ESiS


Designed by Charlie Pyott, it is a portable and functional shelter. It provides instant relief to people when needed, as it provides energy, shelter, food and clean water through human power.

11) La Virtuale Yourte

la virtuale yourte

From Sylvain Silleran, it is a shelter project for homeless people. The shelter consists of simple elements not exceeding 2m, easy to carry, easy to assemble and ready to build furniture. Two people can easily erect the shelter in couple of hours without any tools.

12) Street URCHIN

street urchin

It was created by International Design Clinic. It is a unique urban tent for the homeless.



From Vestal Design, it is a sustainable housing for refugees. These housing units can be folded and fitted into ¼ of a shipping container. Each unit can house up to four people and is made of all the sustainable materials. Its capacity to be fitted in ¼ of a shipping container means a ship can contain housing for 100,000 people at a time.

14) Temporary Habitat

temporary habitat

Studio D’s concept, it explores the usage and application of common materials in the development of temporary shelters. Developed by Gene Daniels, it also provides storage for some personal belongings and privacy.

15) Flat-Pac Emergency Shelter

flat pac

By Pwharram, It is especially designed, so that it can be easily packed and transported to disaster zones. The shelter is made from light weight and recycled materials. It is deployed in a flat packed unit from where it can be easily assembled by two people without the help of any tools. This shelter also consists of modular components for the floor, sides and roof as well.

16) Home Carry Home

home carry home

By Irene Maldini, this cart contains a shelter and as well as a system for small washings.

17) ZO_loft Wheelly

zo loft wheelly

Designed by Italian group ZO_loft architecture & design, it is a private and portable shelter for the homeless or the refugees. It cleverly covers the issues of cost and is also an all in one habitat solution. It can carry and store personal possessions as well. It can also be set up to form a sheltered chair.

18) Uber


It is a concept of portable emergency housing, which will help people to meet all the need caused by disastrous events. Designed by Rafael Smith, it can be very quickly transported and reassembled, that too with the help of few tools. It is made of reusable and recyclable materials.

19) Emergency Response Studio

emergency response studio

A conceptual project by Paul Villinski was destined to be a rolling space that would allow the artists to work in disaster settings. However, as the project continued, he began to view it as a prototype for self-sufficient and solar powered mobile housing, even as a possible alternative for FEMA trailers. it has some of the most unexpected features. Solar panels and wind turbine on the roof generate power, half of one of the walls is folded down and inside the trailer there stands modular furniture.

20) Cocoon

cocoon emergency shelter

Designed by John Moriarty, this emergency shelter is envisioned to protect you in the extreme environments. All you need to do is, suspend it from a tree or a rock and tuck yourself in the safe and warmness of cocoon.

21) Origami Homeless Shelter

origami homeless shelter

Designed by Joseph Steinberger, it is constructed using local colors, materials and traditions. It is intended to help thousands of earthquake survivors to return to life sustaining farms. The origami creates beautiful, simple and symmetrical home and also insulates it.

22) Kahuta Transitional Housing


Designed by Alexandre Moget, this transitional housing is designed for post-disaster situations. It can either be used alone or with other to create a community. It takes inspiration from the living habits of nomads. It is covered with a web of double-thick felt, which can in turn create an outdoor space for storage and assembly.

23) Reaction Housing

reaction housing

It is designed by Michael Daniel, a senior designer at Frog Design’s Austin Studio. Reaction Housing is a line of dependable shelters that are easy to deploy and build.

24) Lightweight Emergency Shelter

lightweight emergency shelter

It is the winner of the Shelter Me competition. It was designed in such a way that it is easily transportable and easy to deploy. The shelter is made from recycled polyester mesh and aluminum.

25) Butterfly Structure

butterfly structure

It was created by Anthony Romero for the Designit community prize shelter competition. It uses a butterfly roof that helps in collecting water and providing lighting and ventilation. The hinged panels are appropriate to be used as work counter and shade.

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  • Joel805

    I found this to be a wonderful compilation of creative, small scale shelters applicable to many situations of homelessness. I would have liked links to the designer’s web site or contact info..

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