Design Solves Problems

Architecture & Interiors

Design can't save the world, but it can certainly help.  

The Problem: housing the homeless.  Unfortunately there is not the political will to solve this persistent problem, so those who are homeless often live in makeshift shelters.  Most of these shelters are little more than a collection cardboard and plastic refuse held together by electrical tape and ropes. These shelter, which are more like rustic tents, must be taken apart and rebuilt each time a homeless person is forced to move.  Homelessness is a nomadic existence.

This is where design fills the gap where traditional institutions fail to meet an urgent need. 

The Solution:  The Wheely.  A mobile homeless shelter made of recycled, but extremely durable and water resistant materials that is easily transportable by a one person.  The Wheely, as it name suggests, is a shelter that rolls. A kickstand stabilizes it in place wherever it is parked. The tent membrane unfolds from inside the wheel. 

Designer:  Zo-Loft Architecture and Design

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  1. ed @ cruikshank.co.nz

    Jan 5, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Very interesting concept, it will be interesting to see whether the idea gets adopted or not.

  2. Jay

    Jan 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I’m sorry, but I think it’s a rather tasteless idea, a bit of a joke. So, I don’t have money for a house, I resort to trash to shelter myself from the weather but, let’s see, I think I’ll buy a rolling slum. That way I won’t deface your city…

  3. Rory

    Jan 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Ask the homeless if they would prefer to live in a cardboard box that falls apart in the rain or a waterproof mobile shelter that is easy to move,.
    The homeless problem isn’t going to get better if everyone is waiting for the perfect solution. Three points:
    1) The homeless problem persists. Advocates for the homeless haven’t been unsuccessful in finding funding. The homeless do not have political power. Its sad, but true.
    2) Most Americans, regardless of what you or I may want, do not want their taxes raised in order to fund more government spending. Even if its for a worthy cause. Whenever a politician even mentions the word taxes they are attacked.
    3. If points 1 and 2 are correct than those of us who have concern for our homeless citizens need to find alternative solutions.
    4) Designers propose an idea for a mobile homeless shelter that is a thousand per cent cheaper to make than a house. These are mass produced objects versus a labor and capital intensive construction project.
    Maybe the Wheely isn’t the perfect solution, but I give a lot of credit to Zo-Loft Architects for trying to deal with a prevalent urban problem. And at the very least they are raising awareness of this issue.
    Case in point: this blog discussion

    • brucewayne

      Jan 23, 2011 at 11:39 am

      Great response and very well put.

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