an ugly, transforming, 3-person parachute shelter

Our three person team designed, fabricated and carried a light weight structure into Poly Canyon to live for two days and two nights for Cal Poly Design Village Competition. Day 1 consisted of construction while day 2 consisted of living and sustaining the Canyon’s high winds and diurnal temperatures.

The structure is made of 1″ and 3/4″ steel pipes, while the footings consist of 5/8″ round bar. The upper portion of the the structure is made from PVC pipe and military grade rope pull together to provide form and stability. A 24′ diameter military parachute is used as our membrane because of its lightweight and airtight qualities.

We sewed in a hammock like structure onto three consecutive gores for us to lay comfortably. Velco straps at key points on the parachute pull the parachute onto itself over different stages of the competition. During the day we allow the high winds to blow into the structure creating a spinnaker-like form that is in constant movement. The four existing ventilation gores from the parachute prevent the structure from being blown away. At night we pull the parachute tightly into itself creating a tight box like form. This prevents wind from entering and keeps heat inside.

Below is the series of photographs of the construction process, competition day, and friends.