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Emergency Life-Support Design

Welcome to Eleven’s 7th international ideas and design competition. For this challenge, we focus our attention on natural disasters by looking at the concept and definition of shelter in their immediate aftermath and by posing the question: how can architecture and design help protect, shelter and save lives when they strike?


Natural disasters kill thousands of people a year. Typically, the biggest killer isn’t the actual event itself, but the hours following the event. 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: a determining factor between survival or death.

This is where our competition steps in as we ask you to design ‘Shelter 48’: a guardian angel, a protector, and an emergency life-support system to be deployed rapidly after natural disasters strike.


Rubble Bubble

Wang Ding, Zhou Songzi & Chen Shiyan

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.

runner up


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.

Honourable Mentions:

First Aid Kits

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!

Milk Carton

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.

The Ark

Gunjan Lath & Balakrishna Pathi

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.

m.s^2: Emergency Space-Frame Shelter

Konstantina Bikou & Angeliki Kintou

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.


Yibo Gao, Yuxiang Zheng, Hanyan Wang & Yaping Wang

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.

The Shell

Emiliano Mazzarotto, Isabelle Turco & Federica Mian

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 sooth the soul!

people's choice

Project – 434

Deepak Reddy

This project – selected by the puplic 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.


Meet our panel of world class experts and fellow designers!

Abeer Seikaly

Architect & Cultural Designer

Abeer Seikaly

Architect & Cultural Designer

"I would like to see a structure that serves several functions and provides shelter in a variety of weather conditions around the world. A structure that can be easily transportable, set-up and taken down and incorporates a technology or method of design that allows development of various sizes."

Abeer Seikaly has worked with several well-established architecture and design practices and has since refined her focus on cultural production.  Abeer is co-directing Amman Design Week, an ongoing learning platform that is helping provide opportunities to a wide community with the underlying mission to foster a culture of and design-thinking in Jordan.  Abeer received her Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002.

While articulating architecture as social technology, Abeer Seikaly’s projects form through her multidisciplinary approaches and seek to define the spaces in which society and individuals interact.  In 2013 she won the Lexus Design Award for her work “Weave a Home” which explores dwelling concepts and experience through social architecture. Today, Abeer’s ongoing research for sheltering solutions is a process that seeks to provide a unique and easily accessible platform to allow communities to benefit from her research work while applying design-thinking to identify material and functional requirements. Abeer's innovation is an exploration on "how" communities can build shelter with their traditional and cultural specificities and most readily available materials.

Karina Ashrapova

Winner of Eleven's Biomimicry Competition

Karina Ashrapova

Winner of Eleven's Biomimicry Competition

"As a jury member, I am interested in projects with such features as the opportunity to be modified and to grow, in structures that should be durable, easily dismantled and repacked for use in different locations and designs that should be easily implemented with building techniques that can be taught to a potentially unskilled workforce."

Karina Ashrapova is the winner of Eleven’s Biomimicry Competition and a Master's student in the TIArch Studio of Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering, Kazan, Russia. Karina devotes a special attention to hand drawing and hand modeling as one of the most successful ways to demonstrate architectural ideas and as a way of organizing an architectural space.

Currently, she is doing research on the organization of architectural space on a basis of symbiosis of architecture, nature, technology and materials. Karina believes that nature is able to give us answers to all our 'unsolvable' problems; we only need to listen carefully to it and be inspired by it. Her inspiration is driven by the belief that progressive robot technology, development of biomaterials and innovative methods of construction allow us to design sustainable, resource efficient, autonomous, safe and comfortable urban environment through a connection of bio-systems and computer calculations. Solution of sustainable problems, searching the lost language of communication, a channel of relationships between man and environment is the base of her work. Karina believes that we will be able to create the perfect future for our generations, and architecture is the greatest way to change the world!

Narinder Sagoo

Partner, Fosters + Partners

Narinder Sagoo

Partner, Fosters + Partners

"It will be critical to the competition to be able to clearly see how the design response adapts to the constraints of time and the scarce availability of materials. Simplicity will be the essence and the communication of ideas to the victims of such disasters. So ‘Less is More’ being a critical guiding philosophy in design and communication."

Narinder Sagoo joined Foster + Partners in 1996. In 2000, he became the youngest-ever associate at Foster + Partners, was made a project director the following year and was promoted to partner at the start of 2004. Narinder is most well-known for his perspective drawings and his unique ability to grasp and visualise architectural visions. Working alongside Lord Foster and other Senior Partners, Narinder has been personally involved in all of the practice’s projects over a period of two decades.

Responsible for all artistic representations of projects, from sketch and drawing, digital painting through to photorealistic representation. Narinders team of artists continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in conveying not just the appearance of a built reality but its atmosphere, whilst exploring sensory relationships with the built and natural environment.The act of listening to a client, results in sketching our interpretation, drawing our ideas and painting our dreams together. Photorealism takes us forward in time to the point of reality, where we can imagine a future far beyond.

Narinder continues to teach at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Yale University and the Cambridge School of Architecture.

Hakan Gürsu

Founder and CEO, Designnobis / METU ID

Hakan Gürsu

Founder and CEO, Designnobis / METU ID

“Disaster relief structures are about the smart use of high-performance technology and readily available materials as much as they are about the psychology and sociology of the people. I believe design can foster the solidarity among communities more than ever before with the connected society.”

Industrial Designer Hakan Gürsu graduated from Middle East Technical University Industrial Design Department in 1984 in first rank and completed his master degree in Architecture and PhD in City Regional Planning. He continued his profession in various projects in product design, interior, architecture and city planning and in diverse centers including Russia and Japan. In 1991, Japanese Industrial Design Association deemed him worthy of the ‘Pioneer of Design’ award. His product and space designs received several honors and accolades. DESIGNNOBIS Design / Innovation firm that he founded in 2006 is selected among Turkey’s Top 40 Entrepreneur Firms. He’s been honored in world’s prestigious design competitions by winning over 160 design awards within 10 years and made Turkey rank second in World Design Rankings held in EU. He contributed to several national and international organizations as a speaker on innovation, creative thinking, design and R&D, including TEDx, Intel, Coca Cola, IBM and World Bank. His book “Innovation” that reflects upon his experience in the area was published in 2014. Consecutively, he was honored as “Designer of the Year” by International Association of Designers in Milano. Ranging from boats, toys and furniture to consumer electronics, his environmentally friendly and visionary projects are introducing unusual solutions to common problems. Gürsu continues to train design students at METU.

Honorary Awards:

International Association of Designers, “Designer of the Year”, 2014 Industrial Designers Society of Turkey, “Designer of the Year”, 2013 Ankara Yıldız Rotary Club, “Career Success Award”, 2010 Başkent Rotary Club, “Career Success Award”, 2008-2009 International Sustainable Development Conference, “Contribution to Sustainable Environment”, 2008 Forum Istanbul, “Outstanding National Representation in International Platforms”, 2008 Association of European Journalists, “Designer of the Year”, 2008 Union of Local Televisions, “National Hero”, 2008 Japanese Industrial Design Association, “Pioneer of Design”, 1991

Amro Sallam

Executive Director, Architects for Society

Amro Sallam

Executive Director, Architects for Society

“I would like to see designs that not only push the possibilities of disaster housing towards new limits, but that also constitute holistic solutions which address the overall well-being of affected communities.”

Amro has over 20 years of experience with a wide range of architectural project types including some very large projects with world-class architecture firms like Herzog DeMeuron, Switzerland and SOM, Chicago. He holds a Master of Architecture from the prestigious Southern California Institute of Architecture, and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He’s a registered architect in several states.

In addition to his full-time practice of architecture, he has been keen on serving local communities, undertaking informal settlement research in developing countries and eventually founding AFS with fellow architect Mourad Bendjennet. Amro has also engaged his background in fine arts to research the phenomena of informal settlements and slum developments in his home city of Cairo, Egypt. He creates artwork to educate fellow designers and the public about the ingenuity and unharnessed potential of these communities.

Eloise Carr

Editor, Eleven Magazine

Eloise Carr

Editor, Eleven Magazine

Eloise joined Eleven Magazine in 2016 as Editor and Communications Director.

She was born in England in 1985 and grew up in a small village a stone’s throw away from Windsor. The world of art and design has attracted her from a young age and saw her experimenting with fine art, graphics, fashion design, photography, printmaking, textiles, screen-printing, jewellery design and digital media throughout her personal and professional life.

Eloise gained her BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles degree in 2006 and later moved into the world of interior architecture obtaining a MA (Hons) Interior Design in 2011. She has worked on many diverse projects including collaborations with Tatty Divine, Cole and Son and the London Olympic Games.  

She is a full member of the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors).

Eloise loves to travel to experience different cultures and sights, which inspires her creativity. In her spare time she enjoys designing at multiple scales, taking far to many photographs, going to the gym and returning home to a healthy dinner of wine and cheese!

Andrea Verenini

Founder, Eleven Magazine

Andrea Verenini

Founder, Eleven Magazine

Andrea founded Eleven Magazine in 2015 and currently works as its Editor in Chief and Creative Director.

He was born in Bologna in 1984 and spent his childhood and teen years growing up in Italy, Hungary, Russia and Austria. At the age of 17 he moved to the UK to pursue his higher education in Architecture.

Andrea holds a BA (Hons) Architecture degree (2006), a Diploma in Architecture (2009), and in 2010 was awarded a fully-funded doctorate studentship, which he successfully completed with a PhD in Architecture and Urban Regeneration in 2014.

His architecture career has seen him active in both research, academia and practice. He has worked for Grimshaw Architects in London and taught at University in both undergraduate and post-graduate levels on subjects ranging from architecture/urban history and theory, sustainable design, emergent architectural trends, modular/movable architecture, responsive dynamic design, and nature-inspired design.

Andrea is a full member of the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors).

In parallel to Eleven, Andrea works as a freelance designer and architect on experimental projects and international collaborations.

In his spare time Andrea enjoys traveling, photography and (English weather permitting) riding around on his motorcycle avoiding woodland creatures on country lanes.

Eleven's competitions are the ideal arena for generating pro-active international think-tanks in a whole variety of contemporary hot topics and contexts: from social issues to environmental threats, new technologies, shifting urban landscapes, exotic ecological havens, product design, fashion and - why not - even outer space!

We love competitions because they are instrumental in highlighting emerging talent and starting design-led revolutions around the world.

Our challenges have had exhibitions in Europe and the USA,  published in multiple international magazines such as the Architecture Review, the AJ, Dezeen, Archdaily and Designboom, and consistently win awards year after year.


2015 - Our inaugural competition 'Cambodia' wins the 3rd place in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards, and Eleven is officially in business.

2016 - 'Moontopia' is featured as 7th in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards.

2017 - Eleven becomes the most popular competition portal in the world with a double-whammy placement two competitions - 'Rome' (winning 3rd place) and 'Planetarium' (arriving in 5th place) - being featured in the top-5 places in Bustler’s ‘Top-10 Best Competitions of the Year' Awards.

2018 - Watch this space...

Cambodia 2015 Jury Team:

Andrew Maynard (Andrew Maynard Architects), Arthur Andersson (Andersson-Wise), Camillo Boano (The Bartlett, UCL), Christine Murray (Editor in Chief, Architectural Review), Elena Douvlou (Metropolitan University of Athens), Ingrid Bille (BilleByeSheid), Massimo Forese (+39 Architects), Mathilde Marengo (IAAC, Barcelona), Perry Hopper (Grimshaw), Shaun O'Rourke (BAC), Tom Kundig (Olson Kundig), Andrea Verenini (Editor, Eleven).

* This event was run in support of the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) charity.

San Francisco 2016 Jury Team:

Amy Frearson (Deputy Editor of Architecture, Dezeen), The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), Carlos Arnaiz (CAZA), Chris White (BIG), Hasdai Westbrook (Editor, Impact Design Hub), John Barton (Dean of Architecture, Stanford University), Jonny McKenna (Metropolitan Workshop), Karen Nelson (Dean, BAC), Leon Roast (BIG), Lewis Knight (Gensler), Kristi Loui (Gensler), Matthew Mazzotta (MIT), NAP+P Architects (Winner of Cambodia 2015: consisting of members Natthapol Pongplanchai, Planin Chantalert, Porncharoen Orbanratmanee, Pratchaya Lertruck Sadee), Roger Hawkins (Hawkins/Brown), Trent Tesch (KPF), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in support of the Project Night Night charity. 

Moontopia Jury Team:

ASPECT Studios (Winners of San Francisco 2016), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (IDEA Architecture Office), The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), Brent Sherwood (NASA), Christina Ciardullo (Carnegie Mellon University), Kriss J. Kennedy (NASA), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Biomimicry Jury Team:

Alexander Walter (Editor, Archinect & Bustler), Jan Utzon (Utzon Associates Architects), Richard James MacCowan (Biomimicry Institute UK), Timothy McGee (LikoLab), Yaniv Peer (Exploration Architecture), Marko Brajovic (Atelier Marko Brajovic), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Rome 2017 Jury Team:

Patrik Schumacher (Director, Zaha Hadid Architects), Francesco Gatti (3Gatti), Francesco Lipari (OFL Architecture / Cityvision Magazine), Emanuel Jalbert (In Situ), Lorenzo Catena, Onorato di Manno and Andrea Tanci (SET Architects), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Planetarium Jury Team:

Christina Ciardullo (Architectural Designer and Educator), Thomas Wang (Partner, Ennead Architects), Lars Lindberg Christensen (Head of Education and Public Outreach, ESO), Dan Goods (Artist in Residence, NASA JPL), Eric Hanson (Founder and Partner, xRez Studio), Jim Sweitzer (Astrophysicist and Museum Consultant), Stephen Dubois (Secretary, Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society), Charles Beichman (Executive Director, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech / NASA JPL), Dennis Cohen (Creative Director and Experience Designer, Ralph Applebaum Associates),  Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in partnership with Christina Ciardullo and sponsored by the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society (MAPS)

Shelter 48 Jury Team:

Abeer Seikaly (Architect & Cultural Designer), Narinder Sagoo (Partner, Fosters + Partners), Hakan Gürsu (Founder & CEO, Designnobis), Amro Callam (Executive Director, Architecture for Society), Karina Ashrapova (Winner, Eleven's Biomimicry Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven) Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* Poster graphics designed by Concept BRE

Safari (Matobo, Zimbabwe 2017) Jury Team:

Beks Ndlovu (CEO, African Bush Camps), Derek Solomon (Animal Behaviour and Communication Specialist/Author/Private Guide), Rob Janisch (Biomimicry and Genius of Nature Guru/Private Guide), Chris Browne (Owner, Fox Browne Creatives), Debra Fox (Owner, Fox Browne Creatives), Charlene Hewat (CEO, Environment Africa), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event was run in partnership with African Bush Camps and also in support of their charity African Bush Camp Foundation.

Marstopia Jury Team:

Andrew Aldrin (Son of legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Director of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute), Alberto Villanueva Galindo (Architect and Academic, IDEA Architecture Office), Jessie Andjelic (Founding Partner of SPECTACLE and Head of Mars Studio at the University of Calgary), Marc Guberman (Team Leader of the Mars Habitat Project and Partner at Fosters + Partners), Stefano Boeri (Founding Partner, Stefano Boeri Architetti), SEArch Architects (Awarded first place in NASA’s 3D Printed Mars Habitat Challange), Vera Mulyani (CEO and Founder, Mars City Design), ZA Architects (Directors and Co-Founders Dmitry Zhuikov and Arina Agieieva), Monika Lipinska, Laura Olivier and Inci Ogun (Winners of Eleven's Moontopia Competition), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* Competition friend: Mars City Design

Macro to Micro Jury Team:

Adam Vickers (Managing Director of Squareyard Landscape Architecture), Wayne Hemingway (Chairman at CABE and Founder of Hemingway Design), Max Farrell (Senior Partner at Farrells), Lisa Kinch (Associate Architect at Farrells and Lecturer at Manchester School of Architecture), Katy Lock (Policy Manager at Garden Cities and New Towns, Town and Country Planning Association), Steve Sheen (Housing Strategy and Partnerships Manager at Manchester City Council), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

* This event is run in partnership with BETA Events, sponsored by Square Yard, and is part of the event BETA Housing 2018 (12 July, Manchester, UK).

Malecon (Havana) Jury Team:

Peter Noever (Professor, Principle at No/Ever Design and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Wolf D. Prix (Professor, Principle/CEO at COOP HIMMELB(L)AU and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Theodore Hoerr (Founding Principal, Terrain Work), Paul Bulkeley (Design Director, Snug Architects), Carl Prusha (Professor, Director at CP Architects and original member of the 'Havana Project'), Carlos Arnaiz (Founding Partner, CAZA), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Plastic Worlds Jury Team:

Chris Precht (Founding Partner, Penda), Luca Maccarinelli (Associate, Spark* Architects), Michael Pawlyn (Founder, Exploration Architecture), Richard James MacCowan (Founder, Biomimicry UK), Safia Qureshi (CEO, CupClub), Shannon Royden-Turner (Founder, Actuality), Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

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