January 28th, 2006 - Open Knowledge
Jan. 28th, 2006
12:26 pm - Need a Building? Just Add Water
Need a Building? Just Add Water
By Rowan Hooper Rowan Hooper | Also by this reporter
02:00 AM Mar, 15, 2005 EST
In a world with millions of refugees, numerous war zones and huge areas devastated by natural disaster, aid agencies and militaries have long needed a way to quickly erect shelters on demand.
Soon, there will be such a method. A pair of engineers in London have come up with a "building in a bag" -- a sack of cement-impregnated fabric. To erect the structure, all you have to do is add water to the bag and inflate it with air. Twelve hours later the Nissen-shaped shelter is dried out and ready for use.
The structure is intended to improve upon two current methods of providing emergency shelter: tents, which provide only poor protection, or prefabricated, portable buildings that are expensive and difficult to transport. Dubbed the Concrete Canvas, the shelter incorporates the best aspects of both forms. It is almost as easy to transport as a tent, but is as durable and secure as a portable building.
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