Design Academy Eindhoven
Department Man and Leisure
This project emerged from research on the topic of Crisis Design. It is a conceptual shelter for the public space to spread solidarity amongst locals and to lead to a change of mind in our society.
There are people that can not hide behind walls. People living on the street, socially not accepted, homeless and refugees. This shelter holds up a mirror to society. People can see in the mirror what they don‘t want to see, social ignorance and selfishness – themselves. It is about making a change of mind in our society.
My concept builds up on the story of reflection. To hold up a mirror to somebody means to make them realize their true behaviour. By giving shelterless people a reflective facade, I guide society’s attention to this particular scenery. I want to make us look at what we don’t want to see: there is somebody who has to sleep on the streets. The shelter draws attention and reflects the reaction of people passing by.
change of mind
The shelter doesn’t line in to the conform picture of the city, it stands out. It doesn’t hide reality behind walls, it reflects reality on its walls to the outside. This shall make us reflect about our presumptions and daily behavior, ignorance, intolerance and selfishness. It should give an opportunity for a longterm change of mind in a society.
On a study trip to Athens I experienced different situations that left me deeply moved. I saw refugees arriving on the central Victoria Square where they would need to wait for days. Even though Greece is in a deep economic crisis, I saw how people grow together in a crisis.
The reflecting shelter is a structure based on Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome. It is made of triangular modules, supporting itself with minimal use of resources, though maximal strength. To create a similar lightweight and flexible structure I found desirable for the shelter.
Inside of the shelter heat can build up, especially in winter this is crucial. The user of the shelter can be seen through the transparent parts of the facade and be recognized as a sleeping person, still it creates a space for privacy and shelter.
The shape of the shelter is made to cover one or two people like a shell while lying on the floor. It is scalable and possibly modular.
The reflecting shelter is a structure that can be built quickly and with a small amount of effort. It can be set up temporarily on shelterless locations and be moved if necessary.
material and weight
The shelter is made out of lightweight wood and thin acrylic and plastic sheets, materials that are very resistant and strong. The frame is supporting itself and can stand additional weight and pressure. The total weight of a 2 meter long shelter comes up to less than 7kg.
The mirrors can be set up in different arrangements to produce a variety of different patterns and reflection angles. This is possible because of the modular parts of the shelter. It gives some personal freedom to the constructor.
It is handed out together with instructions with illustrated assembly steps, so that people from different geographic and cultural backgrounds can understand it.
opportunity for change
The shelter revaluates space. It makes lost spaces interesting. It makes people come back to places they usually don’t go.
This might be a starting point for integration, a meeting point for two cultures, a starting point for a change of mind.