Phoenix Give Me Shelter Design Competition

client: city of phoenix

location: phoenix, arizona

duration: 2009

The City of Phoenix sponsored a design competition to solicit ideas for shelter in this urban, desert environment. Swift Company’s concept transforms simple geometry into a complex package of forms and functions as the need for shade and shelter evolves throughout the day and seasons.

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The basic conceptual building block is a triangle. Inspired by the geometry and engineering of a simple umbrella, the form and scale is explored to provide complex geometries for multiple applications. Endless variations of form emerge as the surfaces bend, fold, and lift. The premise for the shelter assumes generic elements do not provide the necessary flexibility of use in dynamic site conditions. A diverse kit of typologies and materials use simple fabrication and mechanisms to create site specific strategies for the Phoenix environment.

The breaks and folds turn two-dimensional planes into three-dimensional forms. The collections of forms include sails and collectors suspended from structure, folded screens, and upright panels. Systems include materials that provide shade from the sun, photovoltaic collection of energy, and harvesting of rainwater. Each site will be a place where plants, animals, and people find inhabitable space, a cool drink of water, and dynamic, flexible shelter.

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