As the sun rose above St. Basilica of Lawrence, a crew bustled to raise small shelters in the hot parking lot across the street. The largest building was about 10 feet wide and 13 1/2 feet long, its arched walls and ceiling giving plenty of headroom to passersby who stopped to check it out.
Nearby, several smaller finished structures likewise demonstrated what you can do with some plywood, a few Allen wrenches and a Phillips head screwdriver (better yet, a power drill): shelters that can be built quickly and inexpensively to house disaster victims and, potentially, homeless residents as they transition to permanent housing, said Kate Latham of eFabLocal, explaining the demo by Shelter 2.0, a Virginia-based company that specializes in digitally fabricated housing that can be packed into a 4-by-8-foot crate.
“The arch is on purpose,” said Latham, explaining that the design lets the structures hold heavy rains or snow loads. Designed by Bill Young and Robert Bridges (who were busy building as Latham spoke to Xpress), the temporary homes are easily made from plywood or OSB panels, plenty of screws and various roofing options (from tarps to insulated panels).
On-site assembly requires just a few tools and can be done quickly — Shelter 2.0’s record is 55 minutes, but the homeowner looking to adapt one as a greenhouse should plan it as a weekend project that takes three to eight hours to complete, Latham suggested. The homes range in cost from $1,200 to $4,800 (a below, the lower-priced model, which used OSB panels to cut costs).
And thanks to @AVLchamber for tweeting about the project earlier today, July 25.