Pallet house or shelter for refugies


You will remember in 2008 the disaster that occurred from Hurricane Gustav in Haiti and the  neighbour countries. The results were devastating, killing nearly a hundred of people and thousands of them were affected. The hurricane destroyed communications facilities and buildings and houses of the major part of the population.


The architecture firm I-Beam Design has proposed a very interesting idea. These architects have designed a house made of wooden pallets. This house was originally designed to be used as temporary housing for refugees in Kosovo. It is an economical alternative, easy to build and personal, unlike the large refugee tents.


This house is made with wood pallets of standard measures. The wood is very inexpensive due to the low quality, which can be found in all countries of the world even for free.  Also it’s often used to send food and medicine to refugee camps. One of these houses has 5M2 and is constructed using approximately 100 wooden pallets.

To make the house waterproof, it’s covered with metal plates or plastic . Besides ecological elements of the environment such as rocks, mud, earth, wood, corrugated iron etc. can be used to fill the cavities left in the walls or the roof.

The pallets can be modulated before being used, They can be filled with projected polyurethane foam or polystyrene sheets, and finnally we can cover them with wooden planks for a better final result. Also if you want a more time resistant house you can mix the pallets with more resistant materials, like bricks, mortar, stones etc… Furthermore the cavities that are inside of the pallets can be very useful to pass the electrical installation.

You can build a basic structure in a few days at a cost of approximately of 2.500$, in addition due to their modular character, homes can change according to the needs of the family members.


In the challenge: Architecture for Humanity, the Pallet house won an honorable mention, but so far this is only a prototype and it’s still far from being used for its purpose. The company is looking for funds and investment so they can manufacture it in scale.

Azin Valy partner from I-Beam: “This is not just a house for refugees who are in the need of being resettled.’s Pallet House can also be an interesting option for those who do not live in proper conditions, which are perhaps the major part of the people in this world. “

Do you want to look for more DIY pallet houses?