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Nomad system. Student designed mobile "rescue architecture"

07 of February '23

{tag:studenci} student of architecture from the West Pomeranian University of Technology has designed the Nomad system , a series of mobile buildings that can be used in crisis situations, regardless of location. Prefabricated elements and variable façade panels make it possible to create different variants of buildings, and the use of appropriate technology makes them energy independent.

The project was developed under the supervision of Krzysztof Bizio, PhD, professor at ZUT, as part of the first semester of the second degree program. The project supervisors were also Stanislaw Czujkowski and Adrian Malcherek.

My project was an exploration of the possibility of creating a „rescue architecture,” something between what Shigeru Ban created and between what the Balbek Bureau studio proposed in Ukraine. The main idea was to give people shelter as quickly as possible, while preserving their privacy and dignity. Initially, I planned a series of mobile buildings, enabling immediate response to crisis events, regardless of location. The first sketches depicted trapezoidal reinforced concrete shelters, transported by 2-4 helicopters in a master-slave hauling system, then dropped to the ground. In contrast, this design and implementation would be too costly, and concrete itself is increasingly seen as an environmentally unfriendly material, the author explains.

video showing the Nomad project

© Michal Nataniel Wawrzeła, under the direction of Dr. Krzysztof Bizio

Nomad system

The solution to ensure mobility and the possibility of creating different variants was the development of a rapid construction system, where the number and type of prefabricated elements are selected according to the type of building we want to erect. Such a way creates a greater range of possibilities than prefabrication of an entire house.

This is how the Nomad system was created—as the name suggests temporary and mobile architecture. Buildings in the Nomad system are designed to allow you to travel the world like nomads. The buildings perform their function without interfering with the landscape, leaving nothing behind (which is the problem of today's „temporary” emergency architecture and prefabricated houses in general)," explains the ZUT student.

Projekt system Nomad Projekt system Nomad, konstrukcja

nomad system consists of prefabricated elements

© Michal Nataniel Wawrzeła

The foundation of the project is a 2.5×2.5-meter steel base supported by threaded legs that level the trellis, on which a wooden frame rests. Its parts are prefabricated and connected by carpentry joints (dovetails found, for example, in half-timbered and half-timbered structures). The space between the columns is filled with insulation, then boarded up from the outside and inside.

Projekt system Nomad, różne rodzaje elewacji

Nomad system design, different types of facades

© Michal Nataniel Wawrzeła

variable facade

The facade of the houses has aluminum profiles attached, allowing the insertion of facade panels. This allows the building to adapt to its surroundings—the urban fabric or greenery. It can be made visible or camouflaged, the possibilities are many, depending on the situation.

The door concept is also the author's—a panel of tempered milk glass extends to the neck area, which lets light into the house, while providing privacy. Above from the line of sight, regular glass was used. I also proposed an anti-panic handle, also operable with gloves," adds Michal Nataniel Wawrzeła.

rojekt system Nomad może dostosować się do wielu lokalizacji  Projekt system Nomad, rzut budynku dwuosobowego

The facilities can be built in any location

© Michal Nataniel Wawrzeła

selecting individual elements

Nomad's interior is raw and wooden, and the partition walls have been filled with cardboard. The designer also used a folding top, which when lowered gives up a lot of space. An interesting solution is a chair made of cardboard tubes that slides into holes drilled in two plates, inspired by the paper partition system by Shigeru Ban.

The object, of course, can be taken apart and then reused—everything is prefabricated and multifunctional. Components are simply selected for individual realizations, just like in IKEA furniture, where one element can be found in many products, or like Legos, where sets are realized by matching existing blocks, the author explains.

Projekt system Nomad wraz z farmą wiatrową

Nomad system project with wind farm

© Michal Nataniel Wawrzeła

A multifunctional, self-sufficient facility

The design also includes a terrace that allows the building to be erected on muddy and boggy land. The water recovery used, as well as photovoltaic panels, make Nomad as energy independent as possible. When the building is erected in areas with less sunlight, wind farms can be used, implemented by Icelandic company ICEWIND, among others.

Zmienna elewacja umożliwia również kamuflaż

The variable elevation also allows camouflage

© Michal Nataniel Wawrzeła

The visualizations of the project show that the system itself can be used not only at the time of disasters, it can support field scientific research by being able to erect scientific bases or quarters, as well as the military-defense issue by quickly erecting barracks or command bases, Michal Nataniel Wawrzeła concludes.

Read also about the temporary hemp concrete house designed by Ewelina Rybus, which can be used in war-ravaged Ukraine.

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