TCD Engineering Students Design and Build Refugee Shelters

Posted on: 22 December 2009

As part of their coursework, Senior Freshman Engineering students at TCD were given the task of designing and building a refugee shelter. The project was co-ordinated by Professor Mark Dyer, Director of TrinityHaus.  

The students had to design a shelter for an extreme climate with the following requirements: the shelter must be light weight, portable, easy to erect and dismantle. It must be able to store food, collect 70 litres of clean rain water per week, 20 litres of which must be stored in case of emergency and it must incorporate a solar cooker for meal preparation and a solar still for water purification. The shelter must adhere to all of these requirements with a maximum cost of €100.

In addition to this, the students were scored on the level of sustainability such as the sourcing of materials, potential for recycling and re-use and the carbon footprint involved.

Having completed the design stage of the project, on December 17th last, the students built the shelters onsite in the Physics Garden.  Guest judges from Focus Ireland and UNICEF were on hand to give their opinion and to help select the winning shelter.  First prize was awarded to The Arc for the best shelter overall. A special mention was given to Refshelter for excellent construction and Cardboard Cradle for their innovative construction technique.