Earthquakes, tornadoes and tsunami's are often brutal in their destruction. Aside from the death toll, probably the most devastating aspect about these natural disasters are what lays in their wake: the destitute and homeless simply looking for shelter among the rubble.

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Earlier this month, a group of international architects came together for The Emergency Shelter Exhibition in Sydney, Australia.


The goal for each architect was to build "shelters that could not only protect people from rain and other elements in emergency situations but also provide a space to feel secure and comfortable in a disastrous environment."

All good and well, but it's pretty obvious most of these shelters favor form over function. How much shelter they provide is up for debate, but boy do they look like a cool place to chill with a dirty martini while listening to some down tempo electronic music. Think FEMA-issued ice fishing shack meets the Museum of Modern Art. In fact, the The Emergency Shelter Exhibition might want to consider teaming up with these winter revelers in Minneapolis.

One of the shelters on exhibition was the "Digital Origami Shelter", by Australian architecture firm LAVA. The structure's design is based on a water molecule as a salute to the Japanese Metabolist movement's idea of prefabricated capsules as living space. (For all you roll-playing gamers out there, the "origami cave" also looks a lot like a giant version of your coveted ten-sided dice.)

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"The project plays with ideas of prefabrication and personalised inhabitation, as well as stacking of multiple units, while giving an opportunity for individual expression," said project leader, Chris Bosse, on LAVA's blog.

The "base molecule" is constructed out of plywood and can be flatly packed, making shipment to disaster sites more convenient. It contains enough sleeping space for two adults and one child and little space for eating and reading. Solar operated LED lights give the origami cave a luminescent green glow, perfect for those post-disaster nights of fighting off looters and waterborne communicable diseases while lingering over steaming MREs with your spouse and child.

On a serious note, the exhibition did help raise funds for those affected by the Great Tohoku Earthquake in Japan last March. LAVA's Digital Origami Shelter will also be exhibited next month at the 2011 Sydney Architecture festival.

[Via GizMag]

Image: LAVA