We are excited to announce the winners and awarded entries of Eleven’s Shelter 48 Competition, our seventh international architecture and design challenge!

Natural disasters have been increasing in number each year and typically, the biggest killer isn’t the actual event itself, but the hours following the disaster. Often, it is the lack of adequate shelter – a basic human need to survive – coupled with the obliteration of infrastructures and services and the lack of provisions, which make the 48 hours post-disaster a critical zone for the victims.

In this competition Eleven asked the creative community to design ‘Shelter 48’: a guardian angel, a protector, and an emergency life-support system to be deployed rapidly after natural disasters strike.

Architects and designers from all around the world responded to the challenge, producing a large variety of beautiful concepts for emergency relief shelters.

We are very pleased to showcase the winning entries as voted for by the jury and the community online.

by Wang Ding, Zhou Songzi & Chen Shiyan (China)

The winner of this challenge takes the concept of disaster relief to a whole new level. Instead of designing a system of shelter for survivors, it actually facilitates survival itself. More so, it does this through a simple yet powerful format: large airbag-like bubbles which can be retrofitted to any existing celling. The design encases and protects the survivor in the event of building collapse. Within the protecting bubbles, we find several functions such as water and food provisions, lighting, and even a radio beacon directing aid to you. An extremely simple, yet innovative concept which could inform a profound change in the way we deal with new seismic architecture and old building stock in danger zones throughout the world.

View full entry here!

by Eunji Jeon, Naeun Kim, Jujin Kim & Wooyoung Jung (South Korea) 

This airborne strategy turns the nature of survival upside down. Instead of struggling for help and survival, it comes directly to you as the disaster is striking. How? Through the use of Drones naturally! A very 21st century concept which, if explored more deeply, could become the benchmark for the next generation of life-saving design in the event of natural disasters. This visionary strategy is designed to immediately seek out potential victims as a disaster – in this case a tsunami – strikes and, in doing so, saving lives by acting quickly and directly on the vulnerable who need instant support. It is not only a life changer, but a life saver.

View full entry here!

People’s Choice Award
Project – 434
by Deepak Reddy (India) 

This project – selected by the public as their favourite online – is inspired by snakes slithering around objects. Two types of modular pods – alpha and beta – can link up in a series of configurations to inhabit post-disaster contexts. The pods can be connected and exist in a series of different formations, which in turn are designed to adapt to their climatic and environmental surroundings. The lightweight nature of the individual units and their versatility in creating modular forms, creates an interesting design proposal with biomimetic roots.

View full entry here!

Honourable Mention
by Sunah Choi & Nai-Hua Chen (South Korea / Taiwan)

This entry explores the notion of post-disaster rehousing through a cleverly engineered system of flat-packed modules. The sheer magnitude of the project explores this theme at every scale: from detailed interior zones to the possibility of creating entire modular communities. A very well throughout strategy showcased by beautifully detailed drawings. IKEA eat your heart out!

View full entry here!

Honourable Mention
by Sooyeon Park, Byeongyeon An, Taeyoon Kim & Dahyeon Ha (South Korea) 

These pop-up tsunami relief shelters – inspired by milk cartons – are designed to be air transported on site and turn the roof of sturdy high-rise buildings into survival zones. The use of conventional materials and its ease of assembly make this solution feasible and economic, without compromising on its efficiency in providing survivors with new shelter. The eye-catching graphics root this design to its context: Japan.

View full entry here!

Honourable Mention
by Gunjan Lath & Balakrishna Pathi (India) 

This proposal plays with the concept of transforming every-day urban objects into emergency relief hubs in the event of natural disasters. In this case, we see how bus stops can become floating lifesavers during floods. A clever concept which is executed with a high level of attention to detail. This proposal is about the idea of prevention built into the very fabric of our towns and cities.

View full entry here!

Honourable Mention
by Konstantina Bikou & Angeliki Kintou (Greece) 

This modular system can adapt to its surroundings. It can be constructed to suit the needs of one or of many. Its morphology can be moulded to the unexpected specifics of a post-disaster landscape, meaning that it can exist within a whole variety of context without losing its integrity. The simplicity of the modules allows the users to imagine endless possibilities through the construction of equally endless shapes, which in turn can continue to shift as the needs of the survivor – or indeed the situation itself -changes. It is almost parasitic in nature. Simple. Feasible. Powerful.

View full entry here!

Honourable Mention
by Yibo Gao, Yuxiang Zheng, Hanyan Wang & Yaping Wang (China)

A highly poetic way of dealing with shelter in post-disaster conditions. Despite the design being very conceptual in nature, the idea of using the sky as a stable safe haven for survivors is exciting, and it opens up new avenues to explore in the future. Your own little piece of calm in a dangerous environment, literally placing you in a safe cloud until rescue arrives.

View full entry here!

Honourable Mention
by Emiliano Mazzarotto, Isabelle Turco & Federica Mian (Italy) 

A compact, smart, overall solution which uses simple materials effectively and provides an effective safety zone for up to six people. The attention to detail is impressive and helps make this design a highly feasible option for a whole variety of natural disasters throughout the world. In less than 10 minutes, survivors can go from being homeless to being sheltered in relative comfort and have access to sleeping areas, sanitary facilities, plenty of sustenance, new clothes and even customisable music to soothe the soul!

View full entry here!


There are many more visions of Shelter 48 to discover. Click here to see all of the entries of Eleven’s Emergency Life Support Design Competition.


We would like to thank our competition jury for working with us in this competition. These were: Abeer Seikaly (Architect and Cultural Designer), Karina Ashrapova (winner of Eleven’s Biomimicry Competition), Narinder Sagoo (Partner, Fosters + Partners), Hakan Gürsu (Founder and CEO, Designnobis / METU ID), Amro Sallam (Exective Director, Architects for Society), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Also a big thank you and shout out to our friends at Concept BRE. for designing Shelter 48’s fantastic competition graphics.