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CASA CASULO: Temporary shelter prototype for the homeless - B.Arch final thesis
(Author: Igara Garcia / Advisor: Ana Rolim)

MAIN GOAL

The main goal of the project was to develop a mobile prototype for temporary housing aimed at homeless individuals based on a sampling carried out in the central region of the city of Recife, NE Brazil, of how these people occupy the public space for housing.

 

SITE

The test site is located in downtown neighborhoods of Recife, in the Administrative Political Region (RPA) 01, specifically at the Independence Square, Dezesette Square and Dantas Barreto Avenue.

 

A TYPOLOGY-BASED DESIGN APPROACH

 

After identifying the public spaces with the highest concentration of homeless people in Recife, the forms of occupation of such spaces for the purpose of temporary shelter were analyzed. Homeless people need to protect themselves from physical aggression and climate variations, as they live in a vulnerable condition. Knowing that housing serves as a shelter, and is essentially a protective space, homeless people seek to retake the concept of housing, in terms of the protection aspect, that is manifested, in the different typologies identified in this study.

The different typologies of shelters found in these areas were observed in a non-intrusive way, which demonstrated how such users relate to the space and how they choose the place to live at. Even with few resources, the observation showed that the homeless seek their own mode of spatial organisation to accommodate the need for temporary shelter. The identified typologies were named as: the bed; the living room, the alcove and the bunk bed typology.

 

In addition to, case studies were carried to identify desirable aspects to respond to the needs identified in the site typological analysis, leading to the following qualities: the shelter would should be compact, easy-to-handle, mobile, flexible, and sustainable.

 

 

DESIGN GUIDELINES

 

The following aspects were observed in the homeless occupations in the streets of Recife: protection against the weather, the resources used in relation to materiality; ability to adapt to changing uses, and compliance to ergonomics and ephemerality.

 

According to the analysis performed, it was clear that the individuals in question mostly seek to accommodate themselves in public spaces, such as sidewalks, squares and against building façades. For the most part the occupations take place during the night, when commerce and the intense flow of people circulating in the central areas of the city end or decrease. During the day, it seems that the users migrate and often return to the place they stay at night, just to sleep and protect themselves.

 

Based on this, the following design guidelines were established: (i) to incorporate ease of transport, practicality of assembly and disassembly, compactness and adaptability; (ii) to develop a solution that protects the user against the weather, especially sun, wind and rain; (iv) to design a shelter that could be customized to adapt to different uses, such as sleeping and storing belongings; (v) to elaborate a form that would fit in the usual places of accommodation, such as sidewalks and squares.

Click here for a  video about the project https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AkYlIl-Bm1WdxCRZj-MoERxHZ42YGeyi/view?usp=sharing

The Casa Casulo is flexible and user-friendly

Site test identified as having large concentration of homeless people in the city of Recife

Example of existing form of occupation of public spaces for temporary shelter

Example of existing form of occupation of public spaces for temporary shelter

One of the existing typologies of public space occupation observed in the streets, the "bunk bed"

One of the existing typologies of public space occupation observed in the streets, the "living room"

One of the existing typologies of public space occupation observed in the streets, the "alcove"

One of the existing typologies of public space occupation observed in the streets, the "bed"

Criteria to accommodate the proposed prototype

The prototype components

The prototype transforms based on the users' needs : transport, street vending and sleeping

Floor plan detail

Section detail

The prototype can be used to collect recyclable items and further selling to generate income for the user

The prototype being adjusted to the sleeping mode

Some of the possibilities of spatial organisation of several shelters, a common condition observed in the streets

The construction phase of the prototype to test its feasibility

The construction phase of the prototype to test its feasibility

The construction phase of the prototype to test its feasibility

The construction phase of the prototype to test its feasibility

The end prototype showcasing a customized façade treatment: enclosed condition (top) and stretched to adapt to sleeping mode (bottom)

The end prototype showcasing its adaptation to sleeping mode