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  1. #1
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    Default New Shelter Concept

    Hello, I am designing an Appalachian Trail shelter/information center for my thesis project. A few months ago I posted a topic asking the community what they thought of my idea. Thanks to your feedback I created the final concept and would like to show it to the forum for some final ideas/ feedback.

    Below are a few images and explanations of the idea. The shelter would be a self sustainable structure. Inside the shelter there are fold out sleeping boards and a large screen divided into 3 sections.

    Each section has a different function: Connect, Alert, and Inform

    You can connect with fellow hikers via the interactive leaderboard.
    The center panel will have live updates about trail conditions and emergency information if needed.
    The third panel will be an information resource that will help new hikers learn about the trail.

    The shelter uses photovoltaic cells and wind belt generators to create it's own powersource. All of the materials will be as eco-friendly as possible and use responsibly manufactured products.

    Please let me know what you think, and I will post more information if requested. Also for the hikers in New Jersey, this will be on display at the Montclair State University Art & Design Senior Show starting on May 15.

    Thank you.

    http://www.imagebam.com/gallery/4f62...b784f822f1ac9/

  2. #2
    Registered User butts0989's Avatar
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    personally i think its great, but i know a lot of hikers are extremely again technology in the woods. Its sounds like it would be a very simple form of technology though, and IMO the only useful thing that it should be used for is calling loved ones and letting them know how you are.

    Also i would suggest keeping the porch on the ground, if not use wood for the base. great idea though.

  3. #3
    Registered User mister krabs's Avatar
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    I like the concept, the touchscreen is futuristic and realistic at the same time. Good information is good information regardless of the format. I worry about the wind generators though. The shape of the shelter and the placement of the generators imply that the wind would be funneling through the shelter. Shelters should get you *out* of the wind.

  4. #4
    AT 2012
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    Curious about what a wind belt generator is! Generally, the idea is to site the shelter out of the wind...

    The shelter form is charming -- the winged roof with branch-like rafters is a winner, and the 'A' frame support system with cantilevered floor looks great and you can argue that the few footing locations limit the impact of the building on the site. Absolutely beautiful.

    You have a problem resolving the open/inviting and closed/protected functions required in the shelter. Those books and electronics will not thrive in the open areas where you intend to put them. Do the roofs drain toward the center, and then drip through a pervious floor? All very attractive, but you need to create a wind-free shelter area somewhere. I can also imagine hikers playing a game of bop-the-mouse if the floor is an open grid. Actually, I'd be tempted to explore using a recycled rubber floor... You have to pay attention to the 'enclosure' part because you need to have these shelters exposed enough to get sun on those collectors. That means wind and rain exposure, too. Adding some more screening would go a long way to making your design function as well as it looks... AND it looks absolutely great -- congratulations!!! Very nice presentation.
    Lazarus

  5. #5

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    Well, it looks neat, like a bird in flight. However, that is the problem. Any serious wind will catch in that up swept roof and it will go flying! To say nothing of all the rain which will blow in, get caught on the inside of the roof and pour off the low end at the back. One good thunder storm with strong winds and that thing will be history.

    There is a reason that for 1000's of years buildings are made with roofs that are peaked at the center of the building and not at the sides.

    The other problem is that it looks like it can sleep what, maybe 3 people? Think more like 10 to 15. And that grid floor does not look comfy to sleep on. Nothing like having a cold wind blow up from under the floor to ruin a good nights sleep. {Edit} Opps, sorry I forgot you said fold out sleeping boards. How many?

    How does the information board talk to the internet? celluar? Who's going to pay for that on going service?

    Sorry to poke so many holes in your design, which I'm sure you put much thought and work into. But it really isn't very practical. If I saw a shelter like that on the AT, I would take a picture, shake my head and think "what a waste of resources" and go pitch a tent.
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  6. #6

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    First off it doesn't look very durable. The way you have designed it would waste a lot of materials just so you could make it look interesting. Solar and wind are not reliable, just look at the AMC huts, they run propane generators and occasionally their panels will actually charge. How about vandalism? Those touch screens are bound to get screwed with within the first month.

    Just another 'designer' who just put some funny shapes together with no regard to real life functionality.

  7. #7

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    Okay, I studied your picture for a few more minutes.

    is one end really open on the sides or the sheathing just not shown? Also does the roof have open slots near the center below the solar panels? If not, that roof will collect a lot of snow load. And if they are open, whats to keep the rain and snow from getting inside? And I'm not sure not having any supports at the four end corners is a good idea.

    The primary purpose of a shelter is suppost to do just that, provide shelter from the elements. I just don't see how this one does that.
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  8. #8
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
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    Well, Dan, I'm afraid that I have to agree with Slo-go'en and White Russian: while it looks quite futuristic, I don't believe that it will be terribly functional. Remember the old argument: "form follows function" vs "function follows form"? This appears to be a case of the latter - which can be extremely thought-provoking in the fields of fashion and architecture, but at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, "fashion aside, does it cover my a$$?" In this case, I think that the answer may be "no".

    For me, the problem is that you seem to be trying to do too much. Is it a shelter or a communications device? Most shelters already have a communications device (albeit a low-tech one): the register! Granted that it's usefulness is limited, but it can be used to communicate problems on the trail (when SOBO's leave info for NOBO's), and you can leave messages for your slow-poke buddies. Besides, most folks these days carry cell phones - there's your interactive communication!

    "If you build it, it will break!" Power-generation devices are breakable machines (breakable by accident, wear-and-tear, or vandalism). That's one reason why they aren't in common use along the AT. When it breaks, it'll cost money to fix.... (I won't even address the electrocution hazard - that's a topic for an electrical engineer.)

    A shelter's primary function is...well, to provide shelter from the elements. Anything else that it does might be nice, but isn't strictly necessary. I wish you the best with your thesis, but personally, I hope that I never see it on the trail...I'm too "old school" for that.
    Last edited by shelterbuilder; 04-29-2010 at 20:32. Reason: clarification
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain!

  9. #9
    Registered User wcgornto's Avatar
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    Fold out sleeping boards - What are the hinges, supports, etc., envisioned for this. It sounds like something that might not endure heavy use being unfolded and folded every day.

    Interactive, touch screen info. boards - Some hikers do not practice LNT. I can see plenty of intentional and unintentional vandalism, graffiti, etc. Also, weather conditions over the course of the year would require screens that could endure temperatures between zero and one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, plus wide swings in humidity.

    Conceptually, it has a lot of pluses. In practice, endurance could be an issue.

  10. #10

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    Question

    My wife teaches design at a college here in Nashville. She asked what program you used to design this and create the renderings?

    RainMan

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    [I]ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit....[/I]. Numbers 35

    [url]www.MeetUp.com/NashvilleBackpacker[/url]

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  11. #11
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Default

    looks like a lot of material for a small sheltered space. The current shelters are already "self-sustaining." This looks expensive to build and maintain. Interesting art project, with no practical application.

  12. #12

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    Dan--
    Pretty nice from a pure design point of view, but I think it misses the mark esthetically, and I also agree with the durability comments of others.

    Esthetically, I would not want to come across this thing in the woods. In my opinion, the materials for a shelter should at least look like they came from the surrounding environment (stone, wood).

    The idea of using the shelter as a connection to the outside world is (again in my opinion) not what is desired at an AT overnight site.

    As to durability, these structures really take a beating. Inexperienced, stupid or drunk (or all three) hikers do use shelters for more than just cooking dinner and sleeping. Shelters with easy access tend to become party spots, with all kinds of occasionally destructive activities.

    Finally, because they are un-heated and open on at least one side, they are invariably wet/damp/frozen inside. Add to that hiker grunge and wood smoke, and you would need to have pretty robust electronics to last for any length of time. We build shelters to last about 20 years before any significant work is required (typically a new roof) and expect them to hang around for at least 50 years with a pretty low level of maintenance.

    Sorry to be such a downer on this, Dan. It's really pretty neat--but not for the backcountry.

    I forgot if you are far from the AT, but I would seriously recommend a trip to a nearby shelter--if the project is to design a shelter that would/could actually exist in the real world.

    Cosmo

  13. #13
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Default

    The interactive board run on solar/wind power is pretty cool, but I was hoping to see more of an emphasis on the architecture rather than info systems. Don't get me wrong, I love technology and make a good living with it, but there are other types of technology I'd prefer to see in the middle of the woods.

    My guess is that these design exercises are intended to stretch current thinking, as opposed to being entirely 'ready-to-go'. If so, then it works as it makes you think. If someone is looking to build one in the coming year then it's got all of the problems mentioned previously.

    Regardless, I'm always intrigued by these exercises.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerosene View Post
    My guess is that these design exercises are intended to stretch current thinking, as opposed to being entirely 'ready-to-go'. If so, then it works as it makes you think. If someone is looking to build one in the coming year then it's got all of the problems mentioned previously.
    Getting people thinking is great, but I don't see any reasonable thinking in this monstrosity. If there are aspects of a concept that are good, but don't add up to a functional product it is fine. The problem is that I don't see any good aspects to this thing.

  15. #15
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Reading some of the comments leads me to ask of the designer... are you a long-distance hiker? Is this what you want to see in the woods, or what you think a hiker would want to see in the woods? I'm thinking along the lines of form following function - this structure might be a nice techno-display area, but doesn't seem very functional as a shelter for a bunch of stinky, dirty, tired hikers looking for a dry place to cook and sleep.

    If you're not a long-distance hiker, I'd be very interested to see the design changes you would make after a few weeks on the trail. If you already are, what elements of your travels led you to this design?

  16. #16
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerosene View Post
    ....I love technology and make a good living with it, but there are other types of technology I'd prefer to see in the middle of the woods......
    You mean something like a kerosene lamp.

  17. #17
    Registered User jesse's Avatar
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    I hope you get a good grade on this project, but hope it never gets built. I fear technology creep. If this gets built the next guy/gal has to top it. Next thing you know the outdoors have disappeared.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by jesse View Post
    I hope you get a good grade on this project, but hope it never gets built. I fear technology creep. If this gets built the next guy/gal has to top it. Next thing you know the outdoors have disappeared.
    Poor work deserves poor marks. If you look at the OP's other thread he solicited ideas for this. Now once you removed all the smart ass remarks and off topic conversations it was universally said to be a bad idea. He didn't listen to the users at all and just did what he wanted. I don't think someone someone get a good grade for not listening to user input at all and throwing some funny shapes together. If this was for an art class it should get high marks, but not for design.

  19. #19
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    Will you please include "electrified" mouse baffles in your thesis?

  20. #20
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    ............ and amend:

    "Each section has a different function: Connect, Alert, Inform, and Vaporize"

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