Initiative reCOVER Transitional Disaster Recovery Housing (TDRH) Prototype Project

EPA Grant Number: SU834731
Title: Initiative reCOVER Transitional Disaster Recovery Housing (TDRH) Prototype Project
Investigators: Canfora, Anselmo , Smith, Ewan , Whitehouse, Kamin , Stoneking, Michael
Current Investigators: Canfora, Anselmo , Bulla-Richards, Aja , D’Aversa, Alex , Brennan, Andrea , Elzey, Dana , Burch, Evan , Whitehouse, Kamin , Thompson, Lauren , Parker, Nathan , Mayfield, Patrick , Lee, Sally , Harper, Sara
Institution: University of Virginia
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The Initiative reCOVER TDRH project focuses on the design, fabrication and testing of a transitional disaster recovery housing prototype. As part of an established multi-year partnership with Building Goodness Foundation, and the Arup Cause Program, Initiative reCOVER is developing a disaster recovery shelter design as a prefabricated, panelized system that can be deployed as a flat-packed unit. The primary objective of this project is to introduce improvements and innovations in post-disaster recovery housing utilizing highly integrated prefabricated, panelized building components with a focus on sustainable materials, manufacturing practices, and passive design.


In partnership with Building Goodness Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, the architecture and engineering firm Arup (The Arup Cause), and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Initiative reCOVER, a University of Virginia School of Architecture program, focuses students’ attention on the research, design development, fabrication, and testing of prefabricated, transitional disaster recovery housing. Lessons in conventional constructional methods and emerging digital fabrication techniques are synthesized to teach students sound foundational principles and skill sets.

Expected Results:

The intended results of this disaster recovery shelter prototype project are first, to address the urgent need for improved transitional housing stock for future disaster recovery efforts; second, to provide architecture and engineering students with an opportunity to learn from hands-on experiences of working on critical, community-based, applied research design problems and address design criteria of functionality, sustainability, and environmental performance; and third, to development a shelter design that combines the high quality and precision of off-site construction with sustainable strategies of manufacturing, deployment, installation, and reuse.

Supplemental Keywords:

Transitional housing, disaster recovery, sustainable building and materials, design optimization, building education, prefabrication, digital fabrication, panelized building components,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report