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A Home Away from Home, Since 2010

Better Shelter

Better Shelter is a humanitarian innovation project and social enterprise based in Sweden. The project team designs and develops modular temporary shelters for persons displaced by armed conflicts and natural disasters, with the aim of improving their lives by providing them with a safer and more dignified home away from home. The Better Shelter is designed to enable the activities of basic living and offer elementary privacy and security.


The Better Shelter resembles a very simple house. Its robust steel frame is clad with vertical, semi-hard walls, four windows, a high ceiling, and a door that can be locked. A solar-powered lamp provides light, and includes a USB port for charging electronic devices. The shelter is designed to last for three years, and is suitable for situations where local materials or construction workers are in short supply, with the additional value of preventing deforestation. Today, Better Shelters are being evaluated as temporary accommodations, registration centers, medical aid clinics, and food distribution centers. To date, shelters have been shipped to refugee camps, transit sites, and emergency response programs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Better Shelter in collaboration with the IKEA Foundation and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Design team: Nicolò Barlera, Christian Gustafsson, Tim de Haas, Dennis Kanter, Johan Karlsson, John Van Leer.

Photo: © Better Shelter, IKEA Foundation, and UNHCR

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