written by:
May 29, 2009

Earlier this month, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education opened their Gimme Shelter exhibition, featuring six temporary woodland shelters that offer places of rest and respite to the visitors of the 350-acre nature preserve just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Firefly by Rashida Ng and Nami Yamamoto<br><br>This bedlike bench invites visitors to relax and enjoy the sky above.<br><br>Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of  the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
Firefly by Rashida Ng and Nami YamamotoThis bedlike bench invites visitors to relax and enjoy the sky above.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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Woodland Canopy by FORM Design Collaborative<br><br>This basket-woven teepeelike structure of bamboo and hemp rope is partially covered by a waterproofed hemp canvas and constructed of locally obtained, FSC-certified or reclaimed lumber.<br><br>Photo by J
Woodland Canopy by FORM Design CollaborativeThis basket-woven teepeelike structure of bamboo and hemp rope is partially covered by a waterproofed hemp canvas and constructed of locally obtained, FSC-certified or reclaimed lumber.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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Rain Sail by Team Strada, Alexa Rosse and Ari Miller<br><br>Constructed of recycled billboard material, this structure features hammocks under saillike wings of fabric that collect rain to power generators and light the structure at night.<br><br>Photo by
Rain Sail by Team Strada, Alexa Rosse and Ari MillerConstructed of recycled billboard material, this structure features hammocks under saillike wings of fabric that collect rain to power generators and light the structure at night.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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Bird-Seed Shelter by Julia Molloy and Taka Sarui<br><br>The earthen structure is made from a mixture of mud, seeds, nuts, and water from which native grasses and flowers will grow and to which birds will visit for food and shelter.<br><br>Photo by Jack Ra
Bird-Seed Shelter by Julia Molloy and Taka SaruiThe earthen structure is made from a mixture of mud, seeds, nuts, and water from which native grasses and flowers will grow and to which birds will visit for food and shelter.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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Bird-Seed Shelter by Julia Molloy and Taka Sarui<br><br>The hemp-lined interiors provide temporary sleeping quarters. As the seasons pass, the structure will decompose and break down into a pile of earth.<br><br>Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of  the Sc
Bird-Seed Shelter by Julia Molloy and Taka SaruiThe hemp-lined interiors provide temporary sleeping quarters. As the seasons pass, the structure will decompose and break down into a pile of earth.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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Rain Shelter by GCArchitects, Gabriela Sanz Rodriguez and Carlos Martinez Mediero<br><br>Constructed from recycled wood, the rain shelter provides as much solice as entertainment: It becomes a fountain in the rain, a prism of light in the sun, and a whist
Rain Shelter by GCArchitects, Gabriela Sanz Rodriguez and Carlos Martinez MedieroConstructed from recycled wood, the rain shelter provides as much solice as entertainment: It becomes a fountain in the rain, a prism of light in the sun, and a whistle in the wind.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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Bambooze! by Rebecca Popowsky and Riggs Skepnek<br><br>The walls of the Bambooze! are made from bales of locally produced straw that are secured with bamboo stakes. The stakes protrude out of the top of the walls to support the roof, also made from bamboo
Bambooze! by Rebecca Popowsky and Riggs SkepnekThe walls of the Bambooze! are made from bales of locally produced straw that are secured with bamboo stakes. The stakes protrude out of the top of the walls to support the roof, also made from bamboo. The roof slopes forward to guide rainwater to the garden in front of the structure.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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Bambooze! by Rebecca Popowsky and Riggs Skepnek<br><br>A series of circular openings made from short bamboo shoots and recycled glass bottles give the wall color and texture.<br><br>Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of  the Schuylkill Center for Environmen
Bambooze! by Rebecca Popowsky and Riggs SkepnekA series of circular openings made from short bamboo shoots and recycled glass bottles give the wall color and texture.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
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Firefly by Rashida Ng and Nami Yamamoto<br><br>This bedlike bench invites visitors to relax and enjoy the sky above.<br><br>Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of  the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
Firefly by Rashida Ng and Nami YamamotoThis bedlike bench invites visitors to relax and enjoy the sky above.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.

The center called on designers and architects around the world to design outdoor shelters that highlight green design. They received over 80 entries, narrowed it down to 12 finalists, and choose six to build and open to the public for one year.

The resulting designs are as varied in aesthetics as they are in materials. The Firefly pod by Rashida Ng and Nami Yamamoto is a compact bedlike bench whose fabric canopy glows in the evening as a result of teh photo-luminescent fabric that charges by day. The Rain Shelter by GCArchitects, Gabriela Sanz Rodgriuez, and Carlos Martinez Mediero looks fit for a children's fantasy movie set (something out of Bridge to Terabithia) and its recycled-wood construction lets it become a fountain in the rain, a prism of light in the sun, and whistle in the wind. The Bird-Seed Shelter by Julia Molloy and Taka Sarui looks fit for hobbits but is designed with the wood's inhabitors in mind: it's made from a mixture of mud, seeds, nuts, and water and will soon be covered in native grasses and flowers that will grow from the walls and birds who will munch on its nutritious offerings.

Rain Shelter by GCArchitects, Gabriela Sanz Rodriguez and Carlos Martinez Mediero<br><br>Constructed from recycled wood, the rain shelter provides as much solice as entertainment: It becomes a fountain in the rain, a prism of light in the sun, and a whist
Rain Shelter by GCArchitects, Gabriela Sanz Rodriguez and Carlos Martinez MedieroConstructed from recycled wood, the rain shelter provides as much solice as entertainment: It becomes a fountain in the rain, a prism of light in the sun, and a whistle in the wind.Photo by Jack Ramsdale. Courtesy of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.

To see photos of all six designs, click the "View Slideshow" button at the top right-hand corner of this post. For information about visiting the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, visit their website at schuylkillcenter.org.

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