The 2015 Chennai floods and refugee crisis across the world prompted three students of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras to invent a foldable house to help rehabilitate disaster victims.
The project by fourth-year civil engineering students Gobinath P, Shreeram R, Akhilesh DSN and Santosh G V won Azim Premji University’s national-level Social Enterprise Idea Challenge held in Bengaluru.
“During disasters when people need shelter, time management is a crucial factor. This housing facility can be installed in 15 minutes by any non-technical person. The shelter is foldable on three sides, making it compact and portable during calamities. The furnished house becomes a small box within a few minutes; it can be folded 32 times its original size and taken anywhere,” Gobinath said.
The structure is made of steel and aluminium composite panels. The walls are double-layered to provide thermal insulation in extreme climatic conditions.
The students are now trying to include restroom fixtures with inbuilt biodigesters, solar panels and a first-floor feature to add more self-sustainability to the structure.