Zoe Axelrod, a US based environmental designer has come up with an innovative idea to provide shelter relief to people in emergency situations. The project has been named as GABE and was designed for a mock disaster in Mexico city. The project is highly adaptable and can be replicated in other locations easily. Though it is meant for immediate relief, it has the potential for a community based permanent shelter.
The GABE houses can be easily constructed as they have a resilient steel frame and a combination of wood and ‘gabion skins’. The houses are made up of rubble, which is easily available in disaster situations. The construction can be easily raised during the disaster situations and are quite comfortable to live in. The breathable yet sturdy walls act as passive cooling system, flood prevention and reinforcement against earthquake aftershocks.
The construction is quite versatile and can meet requirements of different types of disasters like at the time of earthquake the cages of Gabian construction can be filled with rubble or sand, soil, gravel, etc. Similarly, at the time of floods, the second level of Gabian construction can stand alone with in the frame. The second floor skins can be constructed with wood or wire mesh bamboos or even woven banana leaves. These shelters can be either stand alone structures or they can share common walls also.
The walls of these structures can also be used for the purpose of growing vertical gardens and can be instrumental in preventing flooding and reuse rainwater for small scale kitchen garden. The communities in the Gabian construction are organized with an emphasis on living together and comprises of community kitchens, bathrooms etc.The project was developed in collaboration with fellow designers Moulee Basumallik, Antoine Heath, Lisa Kaliczak, Rachel Kang, Renee Shen and Kallie Sternburgh.