Hacking Better Shelter

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As part of the What Design Can Do ‘Refugee Challenge,’ sponsored by the IKEA Foundation and the UN Refugee Agency, we have proposed a simple solution to aid the integration of cities and refugees. Our design is a series of ‘hacks’ that expand the application of Better Shelter, a leading emergency shelter system already deployed throughout crisis areas around the world. With a few creative modifications to Better Shelter, we can provide a range of different shelter types that offer safe and attractive spaces for refugee communities waiting for asylum.

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Program: Relief Shelters
Team: Andre Guimond, Evan Erlebacher, Harry Lam
Status: Proposal
Year: 2016


New York, New York



Amp is a public broadcast system in disguise – each colorful structure is an array of speakers, delivering immersive surround sound.

Concealed inside the walls of AMP is a simple and inexpensive piece of audio technology called a transducer that turns everyday objects into powerful speakers. Working in collaboration with Levy Lorenzo, a New York City-based electronic instrument designer, AMP is designed to broadcast the sounds of IDEAS CITY back to visitors as a looping, colliding, and ever-evolving sound landscape. At times, AMP will be switched to public announcement mode to broadcast live programming, such as lectures and panel discussions.


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Program: Streetfair Installation
Client: Storefront for Art & Architecture
Team: Andre Guimond, Evan Erlebacher, Emily Gruendel
Collaborators: Nous Engineering (Structural Engineer), Levy Lorenzo (Sound Design)
Status: Proposal
Year: 2015

Congress Square Park

Portland, Maine

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Congress Square Park is an underused and poorly maintained public space in the heart of historic Portland, Maine. In our proposal for its revitalization, the park is raised 15 feet to slope toward the Portland Museum of Art across the street, creating a new civic space below.

The surface of the new park is patterned to create distinct areas for things like fountains, grassy lawns to relax on, and sandboxes for kids to play in. An outdoor performance venue is built into the center of the terraced park, providing a new public focal point for the Portland Arts District.


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Program: Public Park & Community Center
Team: Andre Guimond, Evan Erlebacher, Dan Hoch, Christian Scharzwimmer
Status: Proposal
Year: 2013

Dune Line

Queens, New York

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Dune Line is informed by Far Rockaway’s coastal dunes, which in their natural state, act as a resilient barrier against coastal flooding and erosion. Behind this protective edge  a diverse community of sustainable, mixed-use and mixed-income housing types soak up coastal views and ocean breezes.

A variety of open green spaces for recreation, education, and local gardens, stitch the community together and further mitigate the impact of storm flooding. Weaving through the dunes, the boardwalk promenade physically links beach and community together, and inspires a more intimate connection to the ecology of the coast.

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Program: Coastal Resiliency Masterplan
Client: NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Team: Andre Guimond, Evan Erlebacher
Status: Proposal
Year: 2013

M+ Pavilion

Kowloon, Hong Kong




The new M+ Art Pavilion has a privileged location, perched at the tip of Kowloon in a verdant park overlooking Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Our design for the pavilion looks both inward to the exceptional exhibitions and events that serve its primary purpose, and outward to the breathtaking views of the harbor and surrounding park.
The design concept begins with five circles that fan into the landscape and organize the plan. The building perimeter is a simple circular geometry of curving glass panels that create views from every vantage point. Deep structural louvers support the roof and control daylight penetration and heat gain. Their iridescent finish gently reflect blue hues from the harbor and greens from the park’s vegetation.


Program: Museum / Gallery
Client: West Kowloon Cultural District
Team: Andre Guimond, Evan Erlebacher
Status: Proposal
Year: 2013

Green Loop

New York, New York




The continuing impact of waste on the environment ensures that our waste management facilities must be better designed and integrated into our cities. Composting facilities do not need to be undesirable places. In addition to recycling waste and generating energy, these facilities can also be beautiful public parks, recreation areas, inspiring educational hubs, and community farms, located right here in New York City.

This proposal envisions a network of waterfront composting hubs along the city’s waterfront greenways. The entire network capacity is 50% of our annual organic waste, or about 1 million tons/year. This scheme dramatically reduces truck miles currently used to truck waste to far-flung landfills. At the same time, it leverages the existing transportation infrastructure along NYC’s rivers, and addresses “borough equity” in the handling of our waste.



Program: Composting Infrastructure Masterplan
Team: Andre Guimond, Evan Erlebacher, Christian Scharzwimmer
Collaborators: Arup
Status: Proposal
Year: 2013

Bamiyan Cultural Center

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

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Our design for the UNESCO Bamiyan Cultural Center draws its inspiration from the striking views of the Buddha Cliffs of Bamiyan Valley, a World Heritage Site. Our proposal is infused with the region’s remarkable landscape, and the intelligence and beauty of the local architectural traditions that have developed in response to it.

We chose a simple formal concept, and a locally sourced material palette of stone and brick masonry, to allow collaborative construction with local laborers. The brick masonry used in the building will be made with soil excavated from the site and fired in an on-site kiln. An essential aspect of our design strategy is our strong consideration for the social role of this building in the local Bamiyan community, and this begins with the participation of the local community in the construction of the building.





Program: Cultural Center
Client: UNESCO
Team: Andre Guimond, Evan Erlebacher, Austin Crowley, Emily Gruendel
Status: Proposal
Year: 2015