British design studio Cutwork has designed the Cortex Shelter, an easily assembled and affordable housing solution for the global refugee crisis.

The innovative design addresses many of the critical issues with the current temporary housing solutions by offering a sustainable yet easily assembled alternative. The Cortex Shelter takes just one day and two unskilled people to build, and no heavy equipment or machinery is required in its construction.

As of 2017, 65.6 million individuals have been forcibly displaced worldwide because of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations, per the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and in many global refugee camps accommodation is little more than a tent. Not only do the current options not offer privacy, stability or security, but they also lack adequate insulation and are often replaced after a six-month period.

Cutwork’s Cortex Shelter uses a bendable metallic tube framework. The metal structure can be easily bent by hand and locked into place. Waterproof and washable insulation sheets then snap into the frame. The final addition is Cortex Composite’s rollable concrete, which then has water added to it and in 24 hours it hardens to create the final product.

Cutwork CEO and co-founder Kelsea Crawford says of the project: “Our mission is to create stability and security for people who have lost the most – essential safety, a place to call home, and the simple foundations to rebuild communities and hope.

Through its flat-packed nature and one-day assembly, the Cortex Shelter streamlines construction and production costs. The Cortex concrete product takes less time to install and dry, uses 90 percent less material than traditional concrete that is only 1.25cm thick; possesses more than triple the compressive strength (9000+ psi) of traditional concrete, and saves 90 percent of carbon used in traditional concrete.