Initiative reCOVER: Transitional Disaster Recovery Housing Prototype Project

By Anselmo Canfora.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Initiative reCOVER transitional housing project focuses on the design, construction and testing of transitional disaster recovery shelter prototypes for the southeast region of the United States with the intention of developing adaptable designs for other communities in the US and internationally. As part of an established multi-year partnership with Building Goodness Foundation, and Arup’s the Arup Cause Program, Initiative reCOVER is developing a disaster recovery housing prototype as a prefabricated, panelized system that can be deployed as a flat-packed unit. The development of the prototype also contextualizes a set of instructive, full-scale design-build exercises for architecture and engineering students to address functionality, sustainability, and environmental performance criteria. Lessons in conventional constructional methods and emerging digital fabrication techniques are synthesized to teach students sound foundational principles and skill sets. The purpose for designing and building this disaster recovery housing prototype in collaboration with Building Goodness Foundation is threefold – first, to address the urgent need for improved transitional housing stock for future disaster recovery efforts; second, to provide architecture and engineering students with an opportunity to learn from practical, hands-on experiences of working on important, community-based, applied research design problems; and third, to development a shelter design that combines the high quality and precision of off-site construction and computer numerically controlled fabrication with sustainable strategies for deployment, installation, use and reuse. The reCOVER/ Building Goodness Foundation shelter design is intended to supplement or replace the current recreational vehicle or travel trailer options with a more substantial and ameliorated intermediate housing stock for communities, neighborhoods, and individual families for the duration of a disaster recovery period. In collaboration with the School of Engineering, strategies of passive environmental design are being developed to optimize natural indoor light and air quality, while exterior spaces help promote social interaction and a renewed sense of community.

Keywords: Disaster Recovery Housing, Architectural Education, Design/Build Research, Prefabrication, Architecture and Engineering Interdisciplinary Design Team Collaboration, Educational Non-profit Professional Partnership, Community Outreach, Advanced Fabrication Technology Integration, Passive Environmental Design Strategies

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.101-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.122MB).

Anselmo Canfora

Assistant Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, Architecture Department, University of Virginia School of Architecture, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

Anselmo Canfora joined the faculty at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture as an Assistant Professor the fall term, 2004. An area of particular interest to him is teaching the beginning design student. While teaching at the University of Michigan for seven years, Anselmo was the 2002 and 2004 recipient of the Donna M. Salzer Award of Teaching Excellence. He graduated from the University of Michigan with high distinction and was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal. Anselmo was awarded an ACSA Faculty Research/Design Award during the annual conference in Chicago. In 2007, Anselmo founded Initiative reCOVER, a program established to assist disaster recovery efforts and underserved populations through partnerships with humanitarian, community-based organizations, and professional firms. Initiative reCOVER promotes a collaborative entrepreneurial interdisciplinary spirit in service of real-world, hands-on, design-build learning experiences and the advancement of building technologies, methods, and materials. In 2010, Anselmo received an AIA Education Honor Award for reCOVER’s Gita primary school project in Uganda.


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