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Pages An Advance in Education /


A Partner in the Field //


A Global Investigation ///


Jordan, Zaatari Camp: Syrian Refugee Housing New Orleans, Louisiana: Superdome Shelters Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Post Disaster Housing

Join Us ////

/// cover image: Paula Worthington


“The most beautiful, most destitute, and most powerful places are equally vulnerable.�


An Advance in Education / Human history is rife with mass exodus or displacement due to natural and man-made catastrophe. In response to such devastating circumstances, and in accordance with the University of Cincinnati’s mission to balance research with practical experience, Professors Stephen Slaughter and Brian Davies of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning initiated a series of architecture seminars and studios to investigate the application of digital design and rapid prototyping in the construction of shelters for disaster relief. Extensive research was conducted in typology precedents, physical ergonomics, construction techniques, and cost analyses to better inform our approach to the design and fabrication of structures for varying scenarios. We hope our capstone investigations and the resulting full-scale prototype will foster discourse and innovation that result in a scalable accommodation of displaced persons. The Team: Evan Baum Nora Begin Gabriel Dromer Rebecca Doughty Joyce Hanlon

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Nick Hansman Katie Honneywell Matt Lamm Andrew Maragos Phil Riazzi

Dave Rieck Keegan Riley Michelle Rush Paul Serizay Laura Soria

Spencer Van Deusen Becca Waters Lydia Witte Prof. Stephen Slaughter Prof. Brian Davies

The Team




A Partner in the Field // Our team of eighteen senior architecture students believes we are fortunate to participate in the Out of Failure capstone studio that integrates our education with the prospect of providing humanitarian relief. We seek to advance open-source shelters using contemporary fabrication and highly accessible materials with your help. We are honored to have been invited to present our disaster shelter prototypes for a second year at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair [ICFF] at the Javits Center in New York City. The ICFF--a staple of New York’s Design Week--will place our capstone project in front of an audience of over 29,500 international designers, manufacturers, distributors, and public figures, as well as the general public. We will both share and vet our capstone efforts at this prestigious forum. Your generous sponsorship would be acknowledged in all promotional, educational, and exhibition materials at ICFF, the University of Cincinnati, and in all press highlighting the shelter. Any support received will go directly to further research, design, and development, culminating in a full-scale prototype presented at ICFF from May 17-20, 2014. We greatly value your time and consideration.

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A Global Investigation /// Project 1/3 Zaatari, Jordan: Syrian Refugee Housing As the world’s second largest refugee camp and Jordan’s fourth largest city, the Zaatari Refugee camp for displaced Syrians is a testament to how many innocent civilians are affected by military conflict. Started just three years ago, the camp is rapidly approaching maximum capacity, the consequences of which are both physical and psychological. The combination of close living quarters, the loss of familiarity and identity, and extreme survival mentality has resulted in the formation of gangs, theft, and domestic abuse. However, despite these odds, many Syrians have worked together to create councils, shop districts, and slightly better living conditions.

Core Design Team: Evan Baum Joyce Hanlon Matt Lamm

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Katie Honneywell Michelle Rush Paul Serizay

/// image: Dimitar Dilkoff



Investigation The design of this project focuses on finding the proper balance between prescribed program and personal adaptability. The current UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) caravans offer little more than protection from the elements. By providing a large amount of open storage and moveable furniture, we aim to instill a sense of identity and ownership to displaced Syrians. With the notion that the shelter will serve as transitional housing within the existing regime of aid, the shelters are designed to fit within the current grid system established by the UNHCR. /// proposal longitudinal section

150,000 refugees 2,000 new refugees daily 2.1 million displaced Syrians 180,000 caravans 3 schools

/// proposal exterior community rendering

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/// proposal interior rendering

/// image: Lynsey Addario




A Global Investigation /// Project 2/3 New Orleans, Louisiana: Superdome Shelters In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, widespread disaster sent over 10,000 civilians to the Superdome. Refugees were herded onto the structure’s infield without any space or capacity for privacy, relaxation, work, or storage. As a result, overcrowding, drugs, gang violence, and deficient supplies pushed many to their breaking points. Instead of finding solidarity in the shared experience, there was distrust, desperation, and anger. Because the surrounding area was covered in 4 feet of water, the guards did not permit any refugees to leave the facility, contributing to an already volatile atmosphere. While protected from the elements, the scenario in the Superdome failed to offer solace or dignity to the population of refugees there as a last resort.

Core Design Team: Nora Begin Becca Waters Lydia Witte

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Gabriel Dromer Nick Hansman Andrew Maragos

/// image: Kelly Garbato

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Investigation Responding to cultural cues and local spatial values, our shelter offers a secure, modular enclosure that utilizes the terraced seating within the Superdome to provide the sense of stability the human psyche needs to heal. Specific amenities such as the extended front porch, bunk beds, and storage compartment offer the residents elements crucial to emulating the residential structures they are accustomed to. Surfaces can be customized to accommodate multiple ergonomic positions and programmatic functions. Units that are not designated for family dwellings can be purposed for food distribution or medical attention through the arrangement of the interchangeable furniture within the central free space.

/// proposal longitudinal section

10,000 refugees 5.76 sqft per person on the infield Double national crime averages

/// image: Julie Dermansky

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/// proposal interior rendering

/// proposal exterior community rendering

/// image: Mario Tama

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A Global Investigation /// Project 3/3 Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Post-Disaster Housing In the wake of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, most existing structures in the Port-au-Prince area were leveled, leaving countless civilians without homes or infrastructure for rebuilding. With only one runway, sending sufficient relief became a difficult task, relegated mainly to Haiti’s ports. Since the initial earthquake, Haitians have been tasked with making the difficult transition from temporary relief shelters to a permanent home.

Core Design Team: Rebecca Doughty Phil Riazzi Keegan Riley

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David Rieck Laura Soria Spencer Van Deusen

/// image: Pep Bonet

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Investigation This design aims to provide a safe, culturally sensitive, and comfortable environment for recovery, as well as resources for future construction. The components of these shelters can be dismantled and recycled for integration with more permanent housing at the end of their life cycles. Specifically, the modules of the roof trusses can be reconfigured to create both longer spans for typical roof construction and shorter spans for smaller outdoor canopies. Additionally, elements of the interior furniture system can be reused to outfit new homes, while the larger surfaces can be utilized in any type of plywood construction. /// proposal longitudinal section



7.0 magnitude earthquake 293,383 houses destroyed or heavily damaged 600,000 Haitians left their homes 2 x2

/// proposal reuse options

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1 x2

1.5 million people living in camps

/// image: Timothy Fadek

/// image: Allianz.com

/// image: Christina Ruffini

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/// proposal exterior rendering

/// proposal interior rendering

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/// proposal interior rendering

/// proposal interior rendering

/// proposal exterior community rendering

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Join Us //// We recognize that while global disasters may not appear to directly affect us, they represent an issue that requires immediate attention at all levels and from all available advocates with the ability to act. As recently graduated college students, we are committed to using our talents and education to make what difference we can towards the pressing issue of disaster relief. We believe our research is economically feasible, culturally sensitive, and easily implemented. Your support in this monumental endeavor would open new doors for us, allowing our research to reach a larger audience. Please join us in addressing this global issue with your support.

Indiegogo Page:




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/// image: Logan Abassi

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Thank You


Profile for Out of Failure

Out of Failure: Overview  

Description of the 'Out of Failure' studio and its future endeavors, lead by University of Cincinnati DAAP professors, Brian Davies and Step...

Out of Failure: Overview  

Description of the 'Out of Failure' studio and its future endeavors, lead by University of Cincinnati DAAP professors, Brian Davies and Step...