I’ve been quite surprised to see in all the reports coming out of Haiti that there are no large tents or “pre-engineered clearspans” being erected for temporary housing, hospitals, schools or emergency shelters. Fabric Structures could play an enormous role in getting the Haitian people back on their feet. They are easy to erect and provide immediate shade, signage and shelter.
With a highly reflective material used for its roof, these structures could provide necessary shade from the hot sun. As signage, there is no better way to show the people of Haiti that this is a place for help, food and assistance. They are festive in nature and can be lit from above or below to call attention to itself. As shelter, the Haitian people will find these structures as a place of comfort.
Sometimes “soft” architecture is the best solution.
2009 was not the best year for tent manufacturing and rentals. It would be a great boast to the economy and morale to get some commercial tents fabricated and/or rented and shipped to Haiti as soon as possible. Although the US has many military type tents to offer, I think a more residential and eco-friendly type tent is needed.
These lightweight structures have minimal impact on the ground and can be removed once more permanent structures are constructed.
Although small tents and camping tents are good ideas too, there is a need for medium, large and extra large structures to handle large families, smaller groups and large amounts of people gathering for food, aid and clothing.
Architects and Engineers could be very helpful in laying out these Tent Cities and providing a safe and structurally sound site.
What do you think?