Steel frame transitional shelter

This shelter is a combination of tubular steel frame, gabion and rammed earth.

At US$ 0.70 per tubular steel section each complete 3m x 3m unit costs US$ 75.
The framework for a 4 room house would cost only $300.

This is achievable as the steel only forms a linking framework for the gabion blocks and rammed earth blocks or panels to be built around. Furthermore, the reciprocal frame roof ensures that all the weight is transferred vertically downwards onto the load bearing walls without the "spread-forces" exerted by traditional roof structures.

It is a means of using sustainable building materials that are locally available at disaster sites with the minimum of imported framework. Each of the three components has the strength to resist earthquake collapse.
 If bamboo resorces are available much of the steel framework could be replaced by bamboo panels.

The basic framework comprises 3 units of 1 metre length interlocking 22mm steel tubing wired together as follows:

There are three basic frames and each one is made from wired together interlocking 1 metre lengths of 22mm gauge steel tubing:


Reciprocal frame roof unit

If the steel members are used in tension (as angled members on the walls) this would create an even more efficient structure. The addition of diagonals in the frame would also much improve the earthquake resistance of the structure.


Two units to demonstrate the modular options.


Gabions being used as quoins if the rammed earth sections have to be on the ground.


Gabions are wired basket blocks that make
use of available rubble. They have potential
use for construction in Haiti. [Read more]

Gabion block

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