SHELTER: A HOMES MAIN INGREDIENT

No matter where you are located, the first thing you need to be concerned about in a survival situation is where you will take shelter.

Apart from water, food, and cloth, shelter is also one of the basic needs of an individual.

Shelter is one word that describes millions of dreams. Shelter does not mean a house, in the true sense, it is a home! It is a place which each one of us can boast about; a place where we return after spending a hectic day and meet our loved ones, a place where we can rest and stay with family, which makes us forget all our worries and tensions. In addition to this, it protects us from all the harsh climatic conditions.

Shelters give people a feeling of well-being and boost their will to live. Without shelters, people become exhausted and often lose their will to live due to prolonged exposure to the elements. Having a shelter therefore generally improves a person’s quality of life.

When considered as a home, a shelter is also where family members interact and where children are raised properly. Since shelters provide a sense of security, dwellers can better focus on the other aspects of their lives. Shelters also provide privacy and encourage independence from the community.

Climate has been a key Factor in creating the right shelter for man for centuries. Climatic factors like cold and warmth determine the appropriate shelter.

Cold Climate:  Ice was used by the Inuit for igloos. Ice is used because the air pockets trapped in it make it an insulator.  Soil and especially clay is good thermal mass; it is very good at keeping temperatures at a constant level. Homes built with earth tend to be naturally cool in the summer heat and warm in cold weather.

Rock is also a very dense material so it gives a lot of protection too, its main draw-back as a building material is its weight and awkwardness. Its energy density is also considered a big draw-back, as stone is hard to keep warm without using large amounts of heating resources. An example is the Harlec Castle in Wales situated atop a spur of rock close to the Irish Sea.

Bricks were widely used as a building material in the 1700, 1800 and 1900s. This was due to the fact that it was much more flame retardant than wood in the ever crowding cities and was fairly cheap to produce. It is still in use this modern day in places like Denmark, England, and Russia.

Warm Climate: Thatch is one of the oldest of building materials known; grass is a good insulator and easily harvested. Just like thatch, brush structures are built from plant parts and are found in tropical and subtropical areas. It has been used in the past and is still in use as seen in places like the hatched roof Cottages in Cotswolds, England and the multi-tiered Meru Towers of Besakih Temple, Bali which uses black ijuk fibres.

Wood is another good material as it is a generic building material and is used in building just about any type of structure in most climates. Some examples of the most popular hardwoods include oak, maple and mahogany. Countries like America and Australia still use wood in the construction of homes.

Concrete has been the predominant building material in this modern age due to its longevity, formability, and ease of transporting. Cement which is the main component in concrete is a  mixture of limestone and other materials (iron ore, shale, clay etc.). The most common form of concrete is Portland cement concrete, which consists of mineral aggregate (generally gravel and sand), portland cement and water.

Odd Topography: They are areas where non solid ground have been used to create new communities. If a site is flat, the topography may not influence the location and layout of the building, but if the site is sloppy, the topography is likely to affect the design. Building materials like wood, cement and rock could be used because of their strength and hardness.

Swampy Areas: Bamboo, like true wood, is a natural composite material with a high strength-to-weight ratio useful for structures. Bamboo has a higher compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete. It helps houses stand on water because of its length and also used for scaffolding. It is used in places like China, Philippines and in riverine areas e.g. Niger Delta in Nigeria.

Regardless of climate or region and even generation, without the right SHELTER there is no HOME.