rd-shelter: A rapid deployment shelter

Many years ago I watched a news piece on television. It was reporting on a disaster. In this case, a natural disaster. Lots of people were displaced and left exposed to the elements. And they were exposed for quite a while. In some cases days and weeks. This didn’t sit well with me.

My motivation

Disasters do take many forms; war, famine, crop fail, the fallout from the actions of aggressive dictatorships, landslide, typhoon, extreme weather conditions – the list goes on. The common ground in every instance is the exposure that those displaced have to endure. They have to wait too long for the most basic forms of protection. The most basic shelter. Is there something I could do?

As a designer, my mind is always active with ideas and the analysis of all that is around. I question everything and this shelter issue has been, for many years now, very much at the front of my mind.  



The development

After several years of work and many hours of consultation and discussion with friends, family and fellow designers , I’ve now come to this place with this product. A rapid deployment shelter. The rd-shelter.

– It’s a fluted polycarbonate structure.

– It’s light.

– It’s strong.

– It’s opaque.

– It’s wind proof.

– It’s waterproof.


 It holds itself up with nothing more than tension.

There is no tooling, there is no need for specialist ground crew. It’s smart construction means it can be compressed to and be transported at 25% of it’s assembled height. More shelters moved quicker with fewer trips. Lower carbon footprint. More in the field – quicker.

The target

I am at the prototype stage now. I have to build a full scale model. It has to be robust. It has to perform in the field – without fail. To do that I will have to now (having exhausted the skillsets I have) engage with specialists. They need to be paid, materials have to be bought. Expenses will need to be taken care of until I can refine and finally resolve this design and put it into production. It is very close now. If I can hit the funding target of £30,000 then Scottish Enterprise will match fund and support it to the tune of £70,000.

Your help

I need your help. It has come a long way from my notebook, through the research, past the many models I have built, the drawings, diagrams and CAD work to this stage. This is an initiative that to date I have had to self fund. It’s a much bigger project now and I’m asking for your support. It will work. I know it. I know (we all know) there is an urgent need and I want desperately to make it a reality. This need is very real. Particularly now. The unbelievably massive number of people in transit is currently 59.5 million – half of them being children. They need help. I believe this will make a difference.

The bigger dream

I want governments to buy into this. Aid agencies to buy into this. My ideal would be to see these stockpiled all over the world so that, in the immediate circumstance of need there is something that can be done. And that should happen immediately. It should be a rapid response.



Please spread the word

Please do what you can to contribute and please do share with your friends on you own networks. The ‘spider effect’ is an extremely powerful tool. It spreads the word fast and wide. If we, the project group, can achieve success here, we can then take the prototype into production. Collectively then, we will all have done something together to take action and provide protection for those, that through no fault of their own, find themselves in such desperate circumstance.

Let’s make it happen. Thanks very much. Paul.




Intellectual property including copyright, the design of this shelter, its construction, engineering and the contents of this film (excluding UNHCR photographic images) are the sole property of Paul Gray.

Human displacement is a very important issue. People in transit need adequate shelter – quickly. We have designed a human shelter.
See Campaign: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/rd-shelter/
Contact Information:

Crowdfunder UK, Reward, Consumer, United Kingdom, English, Environment, Lifestyle & Leisure, Industry verticals, Regions, Types of Crowdfunding deal, Language


Source: ICNW

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