Engineering Students Design and Build Innovative Shelters for the Homeless

Eighteen shelters specifically designed for homeless people were constructed on campus by Trinity College School of Engineering students recently marking the culmination of a twelve week project.  The 160 second year undergraduate students were set the challenge of designing and building innovative shelters as part of their coursework.  The practical challenge aims to promote creativity and innovation and forms part of an international trend to promote the teaching of imaginative engineering design.

Shelter is a fundamental human need and meeting that need creates a design challenge.  Working with a specific set of criteria, students had to design their shelters taking into account user needs such as portability and ease of assembly, as well as placing the design in either an urban or parkland context.  Having completed the design stage of the project earlier in the year students built the shelters in both Trinity College’s Physics Garden (parkland) and between the Parsons Building and Moyne Institute (urban streetscape) on the day.  Each shelter was graded by judges from Trinity College and guest judges from the Simon Community.

Students with their shelter design at TCD.

Speaking at the event Director of TrinityHaus and co-ordinator of the project, Professor Mark Dyer said: “The Shelter project proved how creative and inventive engineering students can be when given the opportunity.  The design groups created several workable and well thought out solutions that could be used as temporary shelters and compare well with solutions provided by other leading engineering schools internationally.”