Carole Nicholson of Allsteel conceptualized temporary emergency and disaster housing made from recycled cubicle panels that would otherwise be headed for the landfill. The first incarnation was built at Hermann Park in Houston, with help from graduate students and advisors from the nearby Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.
The ReFRAME structure is made up of modular expandable walls repurposed from cubicle frames and covered in clear and white panels with cutouts.
The building's mechanical systems, which include a solar inverter and a rain harvesting system, are tucked away on one side.
Atop the 4,000-pound structure is a butterfly roof made from galvanized steel and recycled framing, and fitted with solar panels.
The buildings are designed to eventually house a shower, sleeping quarters, and a community space, and shelter two people comfortably. "I remember watching TV after Katrina, and everyone was so exposed," says Nicholson. "Creating privacy and community with these temporary structures would be simple and easy to deploy. We could put these all over the world."