Human displacement is a very important issue. People in transit need adequate shelter - quickly. We have designed a human shelter.

We did it!

On 25th Feb 2016 we successfully raised £9,205 with 176 supporters in 70 days


Many years ago I watched a news piece on television. It was reporting on a disaster. In this case, a natural disaster. Lots of people were displaced and left exposed to the elements. And they were exposed for quite a while. In some cases days and weeks. This didn’t sit well with me.

My motivation

Disasters do take many forms; war, famine, crop fail, the fallout from the actions of aggressive dictatorships, landslide, typhoon, extreme weather conditions - the list goes on. The common ground in every instance is the exposure that those displaced have to endure. They have to wait too long for the most basic forms of protection. The most basic shelter. Is there something that could be done? There are a variety of forms of shelter in the arena. Some have strengths and some have weaknesses. What we as a group are trying to do here is design one shelter that deals with all of these issues.

Analyse. Keep the good features and eradicate the bad.



The development

After several years of work and many hours of consultation and discussion with friends, family and fellow designers, we have come to this place. A rapid deployment shelter. The rd-shelter.

- It’s a fluted polycarbonate structure.

- It’s light.

- It’s strong.

- It’s opaque.

- It’s wind proof.

- It’s waterproof.

- It offers privacy.


– It holds itself up with nothing more than tension.

There is no tooling, there is no need for specialist ground crew. Its smart construction means it can be compressed to and be transported at 25% of it’s assembled height. More shelters moved quicker with fewer trips. Lower carbon footprint. More in the field - quicker.


The target

We have to build a full scale prototype now. Field test it. It has to be robust. It has to perform - without fail. To do that (having exhausted the skillsets we have) we need to engage with specialists. They need to be paid, materials have to be bought. Expenses will need to be taken care of until we refine, finally resolve this design and put it into production. It is very close now. The funding target is £30,000. If this target is realised, Scottish Enterprise have intimated that they could match-fund and support it to the tune of £70,000.


Your help

We need your help. It has come a long way from the notebook, through the research, past the many models we have built, the drawings, diagrams and CAD work to this stage. This is an initiative that to date has had to be self- funded. It’s a much bigger project now and I’m asking you personally (on behalf of the agency) for your support. It will work. I know it. I know (we all know) there is an urgent need and I want desperately to make it a reality. This need is very real. Particularly now. The unbelievably massive number of people in transit is currently 59.5 million - half of them being children. (this number has, since first publishing, risen to over 60 million). They all need help. I believe this will make a difference.

The bigger dream

The desire is for governments to buy into this. Aid agencies to buy into this. The ideal would be to see these stockpiled all over the world so that, in the immediate circumstance of need there is something that can be done. And that should happen immediately. It should be a rapid response.



Please spread the wordPlease do what you can to contribute and please do share with your friends on you own networks. The ‘spider effect’ is an extremely powerful tool. It spreads the word fast and wide. If we, the project group, can achieve success here, we can then take the prototype into production. Collectively then, we will all have done something together to take action and provide protection for those, that through no fault of their own, find themselves in such desperate circumstance.

Let’s make it happen. Thanks very much. Paul.




Intellectual property including copyright, the design of this shelter, its construction, engineering and the contents of this film (excluding UNHCR photographic images) are the sole property of Paul Gray.

Read full story

Got an idea like this?

Start your Crowdfunder