Plywood Crystals
by Don Wilkinson, AIA

Getting many of planet Earth's 40 million homeless people into affordable, soundly designed, durable shelters has been the goal of architect and inventor Don Wilkinson for over twenty years. Tackling the problem Don found a solution in a new mathematics, akin to chaos theory, that enabled him to produce simple forms, similar to crystals, as the basis for designing his patented "Rapid Response Home."

Don's research has brought on-line the production of a unique home which is one-tenth the cost of a geodesic

dome, requires no mathematical training to construct and, in the case of the prototype, has withstood eleven years of tests in the most challenging weather of central Florida, including 110 MPH hurricane winds. At the core of his design criteria was the recognition that plywood is a durable, low-tech, low-cost home that is globally available.

The outcome of Don's research and development is a line of brilliantly conceived hexagonal dwellings, made from 5/8 plywood. The basic module measures 16' across by 12' high and can be assembled in a few hours, by people with limited skills and the simplest of tools, anywhere in the world. These homes are now on the market and can be ordered from the supplier in minimum lots of 100 units, including all assembly parts and instructions. It is of great importance that the individual housing modules can be interconnected and, depending on the on-site applications, joined into a beehive-like community with different size structures fulfilling many purposes: dwelling module, kitchen module, toilet or shower module, administration module, storage module and field hospital module.

Called Plywood Crystals, Don and partner Ray Lorenzo are tooled up to build and ship as many as 2,000 units weekly; however this number can be quickly increased according to demand. Negotiations are presently underway for 20,000 units for Turkey and 5,000 units for South America. The United Nations is keenly interested in the Plywood Crystals which have been erected in twenty states plus Japan and Europe. The homes have been designed in a variety of sizes, and varying complexities, up to

1,000 square feet and can be used for permanent structures. If used as an emergency dwelling after a natural disaster, plywood from these homes can then be used as roof sheathing when, and if, other buildings replace them.

Don is a highly respected architect who has taken a giant step by manifesting his vision of an affordable, easy to construct and maintain dwellings for the world's homeless. We'll chart the progress of Don's Plywood Crystals as governments and institutions find ways of utilizing them for shelters on a scale that is proportional to the problem of homelessness this invention has successfully and economically addressed and solved.

For information on Don Wilkinson invention eMail

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