When World Shelters set out to design a shelter to meet the needs of the people displaced by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we knew this was going to be a project that was different than anything we’ve done before. Very quickly the 2DK TShel2 became not just a transitional shelter, but a temporary home designed specifically with Japanese cultural needs in mind. World Shelters has always believed in providing housing where the inhabitants can truly feel at home, but the close partnership and cooperation of Japanese organizations have allowed us to create a shelter that was truly designed for the Japanese people.
Very early on in the design process we recognized the need for cultural adaptations. The first and most obvious element to include was the Genkan entryway or wind room, which keeps the interior of the house warmer and provides a space for inhabitants and guests to change from their outside shoes into slippers. After the first round of proposals were submitted and the government saw our recognition and inclusion of this crucial element of Japanese architecture, a Genkan entryway immediately became a requirement for all other transitional shelter designs. World Shelters is extremely proud to have inspired this change.
We have done our best to address as many other cultural needs as possible. In this area it has been wonderful and incredibly helpful to be working closely with Kaigai Aviotech, as they have offered suggestions that we would not otherwise have known about. In Japan, especially in the north, it is important to have a south-facing wall with a window so as to let in the most light and warmth. World Shelters has done its best to accommodate this request. Other elements we have added include Oshiire, which are storage closets specifically designed to hold futons, and large horizontally-opening windows to allow for easy airing out of the futons. Our engineering calls for bathrooms with a shower, sink, and Japanese-style bathtub, although those are not included in the unit price. Bathing carries great importance in Japanese culture and we wanted to be able to provide the opportunity to those for whom it is most meaningful.
Lastly, the engineering of the 2DK TShel2 allows for a small space that can easily be transformed into a Tokonoma, or spiritual alcove. We at World Shelters believe that for transitional shelter to be the most successful, inhabitants should feel like their needs can be easily met. By providing a traditional space for expressions of spirituality, we are able to help support the needs of the mind and the soul in addition to the basic, pressing demands of the body.
World Shelters can’t wait to get the 2DK TShel2 into the hands of the Japanese people for whom it was designed, and who are so in need of new homes. Although our partners at Kaigai Aviotech have been splendid, we are still in need of support from those of you here in America and around the world who would like to help Japan. Please consider clicking any of the yellow “Donate” buttons on our site - your donations will help us get these remarkable, thoughtfully engineered and designed shelters to Japan as quickly as possible. Thank you for your support!