Think shelter and its associated needs: a place to sleep, a place to eat, storage, and a degree of privacy. Add emergency into the equation since natural disasters consistently lie just below the surface of California living. Creating a solution for all this was the design problem put forth and endowed by Madworkshop Foundation, an architecture and design nonprofit dedicated to social and technological innovation and to making. (Edie Cohen is a board member.) Two University of Southern California architecture students, Jeremy Carmen and Jason Champlain, were named 2017 fellows to design and actually craft their solution, which they named Shelter Squared.
These “tiny homes,” encompassing just 50 square feet, are mobile and flexible. Flat-packed to about the size of a mattress, they are made of lightweight, waterproof panels, affixed to each other with Velcro connectors. A floor and privacy drapes are part of the package that meets the aforementioned necessities. They really do go up in a matter of minutes. Units can be used individually or grouped together to accommodate families. Hopefully, they are on the way to making seas of cots arrayed in school gymnasiums, the prevailing solution, past tense.