Cabanc, design process – ENSA Nantes (2016)

Creation of a public bench that becomes an emergency shelter.


The core of the project lies in the deployment system that allows the bench to be transformed into a shelter. Therefore, it is necessary to optimize this project during its dual use.

The standard size of public benches is 2000mmx450mmx450mm (city of Nantes). In these dimensions, it is necessary to plan to fit all the deployment system to form the shelter, including the roof and the floor.

The wall is formed by an impermeable tarpaulin attached to the other structures by an easy and quick system. The roof and floor components of the shelter that extend out of the bench template are connected by hinges. They can be stored using the mechanism of a Japanese folding screen.

At the beginning of my research for this project, I studied the different possibilities of deploying a rectangular template base to create a maximum surface area when deployed. The principle of compact storage while benefiting from maximum deployment is the main technical concept of this project.

As it is used as a park bench, strength, safety and ease of maintenance are important criteria. Therefore the materials used and the conditions of the site where the bench will be installed (soil, exposure to rain, etc.) are important.

Concerning the technical criteria, the ease and speed of assembly of the shelter is crucial to face possible emergency situations. A simple but solid structure must be considered to support the roof of the shelter and be assembled by one person without using tools. The lightness of the roof components must be taken into account for this project.

In addition, aspects such as the tightness of the seals and the interior comfort of the shelter should not be neglected. For the realization of this project, the study of materials, structure, finish, safety and comfort are also an important criteria, as in any architectural construction. This project is intended to be used by many people and must be able to be transformed on demand. Then, the durability of its components and ease of repair are important criteria to make this project more realistic.

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