New York, United States: On May 3, 2022, Fast Company announced the recipients of the 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards. This year, we were thrilled to learn that our Structure design was honoured with the Architecture award, acknowledging the Structure’s solution to tackling the growing challenge of climate-related displacement.
In its sixth year, the Fast Company World Changing Ideas Awards has recognised groundbreaking ideas that tackle the world’s most urgent challenges, which include filling gaps in healthcare, decarbonising the urban fabric, growing modern agriculture and confronting the spread of disinformation.
Following nearly 3,000 applications, the Fast Company board of editors and reporters recognised 1,053 entries and ultimately selected 39 total honourees for the 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards. Among this year’s international winners include the World Changing Company of the Year: the German-founded multinational Siemens, a tech development company with a hand in a variety of industries including transportation and healthcare. The General Excellence Award was given to Perfect Day, founded in Ireland by two bioengineers who developed a sustainable, animal-free alternative to dairy and protein products.
Our Structure design was honoured with the Architecture award, for its innovative solution to provide relief sheltering in a range of climate contexts. Fast Company Staff Writer Talib Visram noted the Structure’s unique position in the broader humanitarian universe, where tents – flimsy and expendable – are the default response to sheltering displaced communities. Tents are so ubiquitous that they have formed their own urban typology, with no acknowledgement of the rich traditions, skills and talents of the people living in them.
The RHU Structure, younger sibling to our founding RHU shelter product, was developed to last throughout the full duration of displacement, and beyond its basic purpose as an emergency shelter. The recyclable steel is lightweight and recyclable, but rigorously tested against wind, rain and even snowy conditions. After the assembly of the steel frame, design input is completely open. Either a tarpaulin sheet can be applied over the Structure for a fast-acting relief response, or residents can build their own cladding with materials local to the surrounding area and with techniques in which they are most adept.
Since we launched the RHU Structure in 2020, we have delivered well over 200 units across the world, from our early pilot projects in Kenya, to our partnerships with the Aga Khan Development Network, building in the distant highlands of Central Asia, and to our ongoing work with SEEDS, supporting displaced communities in all regions of India, abundant in culture, but beset by natural disasters.
On the Architecture award honour, Better Shelter Managing Director Johan Karlsson remarked,
Now, more than ever, we need to act with fast, responsible action to shelter our most vulnerable populations in displaced situations, while building with kindness to the planet. We are confident that this award will highlight the issues in our area of work, which we are committed to helping resolve everyday.
All of us at Better Shelter are endlessly grateful that our Structure design, only two years old, has already gained international recognition. More so, we hope that this award brings awareness to the displaced communities around the world who are in need of critical assistance, whether it be shelter, health, protection, education, nutrition, WASH or more. We are also grateful to our partners, and especially those who supported the Structure since its inception: ACNUR, Aga Khan Development Network, ATAA Foundation, SEEDS, Takaful Alsham, UNHCR and WATAN Foundation. Thanks are also extended to our organising partner in the United States, Create Structure, for their work to grow our community.
In 2022 and beyond, we look forward to supporting more communities in regions where we can discover new ways the Structure can push shelter innovation forward.
Read the full article on the Fast Company World Changing Ideas Awards here.
Read more about the RHU Structure here.