High-tech, lightweight and adaptable to any environment: SURI shelters from Suricatta Systems optimise DuPont™ Tyvek® membranes and DuPont™ Plantex® geotextiles
September 2015 – A quick and efficient response with regards to humanitarian aid is vital when facing disaster situations. While emergency accommodation solutions in crisis conditions aim for rapid response times in all kinds of terrain, they do not always meet basic living standards and it can be very challenging to achieve optimal interior comfort or adequate temperature control. As an answer to these specific needs Suricatta Systems has developed SURI, a system of transition shelters for emergency accommodation which is both easy to transport and assemble, while providing safety and maintaining acceptable ‘quality of life’ levels from the outset. The system maximises the multiple benefits of using both DuPont™ Tyvek® and DuPont™ Plantex® technology.
SURI is the result of a special project undertaken by the department of Innovation within the Spanish company Urbana de Exteriores, with the participation of the University of Alicante. The company specialises in building refurbishment and has developed this project in line with the Suitable Housing criteria as recognised by the UN as part of Fundamental Human Rights, and also complies within the European Union framework.
A key component of SURI is DuPont™ Tyvek®. Marco Ferrari, Business Development Manager for Southern Europe of DuPont Building Innovations, says that “DuPont™ Tyvek® has been selected because it is an advanced breathable and waterproof material with a long and pioneering tradition of leading the field in building membranes, which answers a wide range of modern architectural and environmental challenges. As well as protecting structures from weather, air-leakage and condensation, DuPont™ Tyvek® is also recognised for its contribution to enhancing interior climate conditions and occupier comfort.”
DuPont™ Tyvek®, together with the geotextile DuPont™ Plantex®, have been chosen for the manufacture of the building envelope of the modular shelters both for their renowned reliability in performance and for their versatility and suitability for multiple environment and climate types.
“The advantage of SURI is a that this is a modular system that can be assembled to create a variety of facilities from family dwellings to primary healthcare centres. It is also ideal for emergency field hospitals or mobile operating theatres in advance positions. As the system can be connected in multiple directions it allows for the creation of virtually any type of temporary building,” said Pedro Sáez, director of Urbana de Exteriores.
The system consists of a series of façades with voids that are fillable using local materials such as earth, debris, sand or snow, and these can be re-filled throughout its 10 year life span. This in-situ refill capability provides a combination of stability, rigidity, insulation and protection to the ensemble, thus dramatically reducing the cost and weight of transport.
For further environmental and resource efficiency, the structure incorporates a water collection system, designed to carry rain water to a deposit from which it is rendered potable via filtration. The design is optimally sustainable: all materials can be recycled or re-used. SURI also considers natural light regulation and features adjustable apertures to maximise interior light during daylight hours, and it is equipped with solar panels that should provide sufficient energy for domestic use. Furthermore, the insulation that this system offers manages interior conditions and temperatures far more favourably when compared with other temporary shelter systems, such as recycled shipping containers.
After participating in the reconstruction of buildings affected by the Lorca earthquake, in the South of Spain, in 2011, and in the construction of dwellings in Haiti that same year, the Suricatta Systems team had first-hand experience of the very difficult conditions in which victims and aid teams find themselves during such crises. This was the spur to begin work on the design of a new product that could significantly improve the situation ‘on the ground.’ SURI benefits not only from that experience but also from the support and collaboration of advanced solutions such DuPont™ Tyvek® and DuPont™ Plantex, ultimately providing ingenious, practical and cost-effective solutions to help alleviate suffering and assist disaster relief efforts.
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