uLites: A large self-sustaining emergency shelter

The uLites shelter can house large numbers of people and vehicles in times of crisis.

uLites is a new kind of emergency shelter with built-in solar power, a backpack that gives access to mobile charging and a bag that converts manure into cooking gas. The new emergency response shelter was funded by the European Union. Its inflatable design means it can be deployed in any emergency situation.

Spain-based international engineering and architectural firm Buildair designed the uLites shelter to come as modular inflatable tubes, which can be arranged in various shapes and sizes depending on their intended use. It accommodates large amounts of people and vehicles.

Each tube can be inflated in around 30 minutes. The solar cells, which are embedded onto a flexible textile, are then embedded onto the shelter.

Every year several thousand people become homeless due to natural disasters as earthquakes, floods or windstorms, which periodically affect wide areas of the Earth. uLites is proof that we’re becoming better equipped to deal with emergency situations. Self-sustaining, inflatable structures could have applications in both disaster and refugee scenarios.