This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Minimalistic Approach to Adaptive, Emergency Relief Structures Embodied by Promoting a Downsized Way of Life




Brown, Joseph D.

Type of Degree



Industrial Design


The aftermath of a natural disaster can be devastating. Thus, we all must become aware of the importance of having a plan before and after their occurrence. The tornado that swept through Birmingham, Alabama, and Hurricane Katrina that devastated the Gulf Coast are examples of natural disasters that took the lives of and left people homeless. Often times after a natural disaster, people are dismantled psychologically, food is scarce, and homes are destroyed. Therefore, the development of a modular system, from a single building unit, will be beneficial. In the time of crisis, the last thing on a family’s mind should be the concern of being homeless. Given the recent natural disasters and a busy summer storm season expected in 2013, what a better time for us as a nation to reexamine the way we live and allocate resources for those in need. Amid a rapidly growing population and infrastructures the world’s exposure to natural hazards is inevitably increasing; therefore, we cannot afford to continue allowing our appetites, dwellings, expenses and livelihoods to grow. With the economy in an upswing from 2009’s fall, new, energy conscious innovations should be leading the surge into the future of emergency relief and community development. This approach first addresses the need for a plan to house individuals after being displaced due to natural disasters. Furthermore, this approach draws attention to the need for the United States to become more cognizant of the built environment and the manner in which we consume natural resources. Lastly, this approach introduces solutions for addressing a longer term, smaller community development which will utilize and transform emergency relief structures into permanent dwellings.