• Students design 400-square-foot housing for use following natural disasters

    After a major natural disaster hits, perhaps the most pressing, immediate need is shelter — even if it’s temporary. Baylor interior design students, working with other students and faculty from such diverse disciplines as psychology, engineering, and film and digital media, are working to fill that need. (Watch the video above to see their proposed design.)

    A national contest sponsored by the Interior Design Educators Council and Florida International University’s Department of Interior Architecture calls for entrants to design a dwelling of no more than 400 square feet that can handle a family of four. The students have studied what worked (and what didn’t work) for victims of disasters ranging from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to Hurricane Katrina.

    Tents are not allowed. The 450 square feet must include areas for sleeping, food preparation and a bathroom. It must work in situations where water may not be fit to drink, and utilities (including waste management) may be unavailable. And on top of all that, it must be quick and easy to assemble and disassemble.

    “We’ve never done anything like this project,” says Greta Buehrle, BA ’05, an interior design lecturer in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. “It’s very schematic, all-encompassing, and it engages so many of Baylor’s Pro Futuris initiatives. This will definitely be a unique learning experience for everyone involved.”

    Sic ’em, Baylor students!

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