URGENT Shelter

URGENT Shelter - an umbrella for collaboration now including Safety Span and Sola Roof

I really see the synergy of URGENT Shelter with Sola Roof. It seems that you look at the issue of floors as a key structural component and I focus on the roof. Wall solutions can be very flexible and elevation views of homes and communities can be adapted locally. Roofs are primary energy interface for our built environment. Floors are where we live and create and the earth should also be an interface for wellbeing where we can bring water within our dwellings with ponds a the ground level. Food is produced above and below the living space and the living space receives good daylight. Ground level can be accessible under the living space floor area for additional space that is for community work and recreation. And I would like to see the Safety Span see the SafetySpan website low weight floor system used for multi-floor-levels for live/work communities.

I like the URGENT Shelter commitment to Open Source: "At URGENT we seek to address real Universal problems by creating Reusable, Generic, Environmentally-Neutral T echnologies for everyone." Sola Roof will establish a cooperation project with Douglas Leonardi, the founder of URGENT Shelter and Safety Span for the purpose of creating a breakthrough solution for rebuilding back from disasters with solutions that restore dignity and self-reliance. We are especially interested to provide technology transfer to Japan as an answer to the Nuclear Disaster, which needs solutions to reduce the impact of Radioactive Contamination.

The URGENT Shelter method to use columns that allow the shelter living area to be lifted off the ground and this is an opportunity to regain the connection to the earth by having living/working/recreation below the household space formed by the Safety Span floor structures. The columns can extend from grade level, up through the habitat level, to the Sola Roof greenhouse level which is in the brightest sunshine at the highest level. Rather than digging for footings I do see an opportunity to use massive building elements at the ground level and connections to water thermal mass reservoirs as a ballast and anchor for the columns. Wire cages with rubble fill could be used to anchor the columns in the case of rebuild after earthquakes. At Arcosanti we could use the concrete Cube Structure? walls (as I understand they are massive) for the Camp project development and I would like to see ponds as liquid thermal mass.

This might seem ambitious for a system that we are thinking of as a Disaster Response? structure, however I envision that out of this innovative environment with its special effort to adapt and cope with severe challenges will emerge a improved concepts for the built environment that will better equip communities to become self-reliant and more resilient to disasters that can be more challenging due to Climate Change and other stresses related to scarcity of water, pollution of air and rain, toxicity of ground water. We want our built environment to protect and keep people safe from flood and fires that may become more extreme due to Climate Change, with more high winds and heavy rain. All shelter should be resistant to severe events, like earthquake and tornado, where survival is the goal but URGENT Shelter must help communities that have lived through such disaster to "build back better" and therefore to meet the next event with confidence that structures will not compound the crisis by killing inhabitants.

I am excited about the collaboration that is ahead and I hope we can move into action really soon. I think that Arcosanti could be a great location and host for this collaboration. - Sola Roof Guy

On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 10:15 AM, Douglas Leonardi wrote:


Thank you! I'm excited to have you aboard.

My vision is to test and prove the ideas of cellular construction and organic community development through the URGENT Shelter project. Without the limitations of a foundation and permanency we can be more open in addressing the problems we face, and can then turn around and apply the lessons to fixed and semi-fixed structures as well.

I look forward to working together and making a difference one family at a time.


Hi Doug, our wiki now has this page: URGENT Cause

And I also have made this blog entry at the wiki and posted this message to our Yahoo discussion forum - I hope that creates a spike of new members, although our forum (900 members) has been a bit quiet recently.

Your invitation is well appreciated and I think your URGENT Cause is brilliant and I am going to join and bring in as many people as I can. You can see that, if you add Sola Roof DIY for greenhouse structures to the mix of shelter solutions for disaster relief, then we fuse into the built environment the power of plants and the breakthrough paradigm of Ecomimicry Architecture will emerge that will not only provide all the physical support and safety that is a standard requirement of the Built Environment but also generates life support by taking on the further challenge of use and capture of solar energy so that the URGENT solution will provide comfort in any climate, food, feed, water and energy on a continuous, sustainable basis. A Sola Roof component to the URGENT shelters is our transparent roof that actively controls living/growing space using low-energy processes to thereby utilize nearly 100% of the available sunlight - the visible, photosynthetic and thermal energy is utilized and captured in biomass and liquid thermal mass.

We can start with human shelter solutions and greenhouses but as the collaboration progress, I have the feeling that we will begin to see a fusion of living systems into living structures that we are exploring at our Eco Habitat Group at the Sola Roof Wiki?.

Collaboration Is The Key? and I encourage members of the Sola Roof community to join the URGENT Cause - following the links you provide below.

Thank you Doug for your work to bring self-help solutions to people in need - that is the key to rebuilding human dignity and it is a most important ingredient in disaster recovery.

- Sola Roof Guy

On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 8:40 PM, Douglas Leonardi wrote:


As far as a project to erect a short term prototypical structure, I am already a partner in the URGENT Shelter project. We are in the process of finalizing the component standards for the system now and are looking for donations to start building shelters as soon as April. We are operating under the non-profit umbrella of Architecture for Charity International, which gives us the reach to collect from anyone and build anywhere.

Having Sola Roof components in the mix would allow solariums and greenhouses like I showed in my last doc.

If either of you are interested in joining THAT effort I'd encourage and welcome your help. The more people behind this, the more shelters we can build and the more people we can house.



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