Building Technology Graduation Studio
Digital Earthen Shelters: Additively Manufacturing Mass Customized Refugee Shelters Using On-Site Earthen Materials
With refugees increasingly inhabiting shelters for prolonged periods, their needs evolve over time. Self-made rearrangements in camps such as Al-Zaatari show a need for adapting the one-size-fits-all structures provided to them into more customized solutions based on individual family needs.
Mass customization is inherent to additive manufacturing, which in combination with using earth as a building material results in a viable approach to constructing customizable refugee shelters. A computational process for designing bespoke 3D-printed earth shelters is proposed, allowing refugees to customize their dwellings through an interactive user interface. The resulting shelters made from earthen mixtures and natural waste products as additives are biodegradable, infinitely recyclable, reusable, require no transport and have minimal environmental impact. A final developed mixture is shown to improve shrinkage, compressive strength, drying speed, deformation, cracking, insulation qualities, lightness and interlayer bonding.