In 2013, 9,000 families were rendered homeless from riots in Muzaffarnagar, India. More than 50 children died when night temperatures fell to near freezing. Further research showed winter deaths as a global issue where death rates could be as high as 150 people every hour. In India, cold is the second leading cause of deaths among the homeless, and yet it is addressed as part of a larger and longer term shelter problem which tends to keep focus away from immediate life-saving needs.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
WinterHYDE is a fully-insulated and lightweight life-saving emergency tent that protects homeless, refugees and disaster-displaced families in cold regions who are the most vulnerable against winter cold. It is woman-friendly, enables a tool-less installation within 15 minutes and does not need anchoring. It is designed for localized production, thus able to create jobs and reduce environmental footprint. WinterHYDE does not provide a poor solution to the poor, it provides a dignified solution.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
WinterHYDE can be setup without any tools by a single person in 15 minutes. During winter, the reflective layer is kept inside to trap radiant body heat providing indoor temperatures warmer than outside by up to 8 degrees Celsius. In summer, the skin is reversed to reflect solar radiation and keep the inside cool. It has no mechanical parts like zippers which may need repair. The structure is replaceable by plumbing pipes or bamboo poles. The outer colors can be customized to give a sense of identity.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
Ethnographic and environmental studies were conducted in India in 2014. After which, concept sketches and ideas were presented to customers and experts for feedback and validation. The first prototype was developed and tested with a family. Further versions were developed based on feedback, improvements in materials and strict considerations for technical specifications, weight, packaging dimensions, and cost targets. Currently, it is being piloted with ten families in India.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
When sleeping in the open, blankets fail miserably in extreme cold. Sleeping bags expose the head, can be unhygienic and cannot shelter mothers with babies. WinterHYDE is thus conceived as a giant sleeping bag stretched on a structure of hollow pipes. The triple layer flysheet insulates, is waterproof, wind resistant and traps heat. It provides privacy for women by avoiding embarrassing shadows. The outer skin is dark to capture solar radiation while reflective strips improve night safety.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
WinterHYDE measures 1.5m x 1.8m to sleep a family. A ridge height of 1.6 m makes it habitable yet is volumetrically small to enable trapping of radiant body heat. The outer layer is polyester 190 T treated for UV. Fire rating as per CPAI 84 and can bear hydrostatic pressure up to 3,000 mm, while the PE base can bear pressure up to 5,000 mm. The total weight of the tent is 13 kgs, allowing a person to easily lift two at a time, and it is packaged to fit 600 units perfectly in a 40’ HC container.
emergency tent, disaster response, non-food item, humanitarian aid, insulation, lightweight, woman-friendly, homeless, vulnerable, winterisation kit
Primary and secondary research were done on beneficiaries (homeless) to determine their needs, and customers (NGOs) to determine their pain areas. Beneficiaries influenced the design concept, while customers influenced pricing, logistics and standards. The combined results were discussed with suppliers and manufacturers to prototype where at least 7 were done which were tested in quick succession for results. Current prototypes are being piloted and marketed for feedback before product launch.
Target beneficiaries are diverse and regionally spread with significant needs for cultural appropriateness. They are therefore difficult to study. After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, it was a challenge not to infringe upon the emotional and material needs of families. Empathy, local sensitivities and project objectives had to be carefully balanced. Another challenge was in needing to move prototype production from India to China where cultural and language barriers further slow down the process.
TEAM MEMBERS (5) :
Prasoon Kumar, Nikita Verma, Astrid Hugo, Roanna Medina and Stanley Leung
Image #1: Photographer Eric Yip and Editor Prasoon Kumar, winterHYDE, 2015.
Image #2: Illustrator Sowjanya Chintalapati, winterHYDE render, 2014.
Image #3: Photographer Eric Yip, winterHYDE, 2015.
Image #4: Photographer Eric Yip, winterHYDE, 2015.
Image #5: Photographer Kiran Babu, winterHYDE pilot in Delhi, 2016.
Video Credits: Photographer Eric Yip, winterHYDE, 2015.
As a socially relevant project, we intend to open source the design.