Village in a Box

The Island Nations Initiative is a housing system that functions as a home-building kit that unskilled labor can construct and withstands hurricane and earthquake conditions due to the carefully predesigned and pre–engineered components. The "Village in a Box" [VIB] GroForm Building Kit can serve both humanitarian needs and the ecotourism industry with the potential for the later to aid in partially supporting the former if  relief agencies are not available or unable to function. Our approach is one of a basic armature framework along with several options to evolve the building according to user needs.

The VIB both serves immediate needs as a hard–panel tent and then evolves into a roof and subsequently a home. Every effort is made for each stage to function well spatially with privacy possible even at the tent stage through the use of the structural support members as shelves, partitions, and other storage devices. The advantage of groForms is that each stage serves as part of the next, starting from the foundation that keeps the family off the ground to this same foundation becoming the basis of the family home. Aesthetically, the building looks traditional with no stigma that it is disaster relief housing that most tents so often take on. In this manner, we believe we are really building the spirit of community from the start.

The VIB kit, in its most advanced level, helps create the means for true self–reliance, both economically through the support and development of local skills and by the balancing of resource needs on a daily basis at the home and community scale. The water cycle is complete from harvesting to waste water; the food cycle from establishing gardens to resourcing the waste after it is eaten and prepared; the material cycle from establishing tree plantations to configuring a building for change, disassembly, and barter. All aspects of the building kit are tailored to use local labor.

The Kendeda Fund; The Still Water Foundation

Project Team:
Pliny Fisk III (designer); Adam Pyrek (architect of record); Ramon Carrasquillo (structural engineer); Margaret Chandler, Aaron Cloninger, Bess Hester, Nick Hester, Lauren Jones, Jesse Miller, Randall Notgrass, Jonathon Perisho, Melissa Pineda; Robert Crites, Gurushabad Khalsa, Robert Erni, Kevin Watters, Brendan Wittstruck, AmeriCorps NCCC 2012; Monica Albizu, Neil Griffin, Diz Jeppe, Joel Rios, AmeriCorps NCCC 2013; Sean Moore, Cody Snellenberger, Jordan Frazin, Lovleen Gill-Aulakh, Ned Fischer, Cole Cappel