A surplus Gulf Coast FEMA Trailer was transformed into a mobile vertical garden, rainwater catchment system, composting station and permaculture education center. The trailer was dubbed the “Armadillo” for its ribbed retractable shell. It is the result of a year-long collaboration among faculty and students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, under the direction of Jae Rhim Lee, MIT Visual Arts Program.As the teaching assistant for the class, I led discussions on precedents in art and design, helped facilitate skill sharing, the design process and implementation.
We conducted a nation-wide call for proposals from organizations to adopt the trailer. It was awarded to Side Street Projects in California, who towed the trailer cross-country with a grease car and are using the trailer as an educational center.
“The Armadillo is both a practical tool and a metaphor for how disaster can be transformed into a tool for environmental and community change.” – Jae Rhim Lee, Visiting Lecturer, MIT Visual Arts Program and Director of the MIT FEMA Trailer Project.
The Armadillo, photograph by Side Street Projects.