Unishelter

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  • Unishelter promotional image Unishelter promotional image
  • Unishelter plan - combining modules Unishelter plan – combining modules
  • promotional material for Unishelter showing its portability Unishelter promotional
  • Unishelter site plan proposal Unishelter site plan proposal
  • Unishelter promotional material Unishelter promotional material

When modern industry needs housing-in-a-hurry for workers in far off production sites Unishelter is the answer! - Unishelter advertisement

Goldberg believed that if more units of a building could be prefabricated, then the more industrialized and thus efficient the building process could become; buildings could be assembled rather than constructed. The Unishelter was the culmination of that idea. As stated by Goldberg, "I learned back in those days that industrialization must come in large units. So I thought of a space unit as an enormous brick [and] what I designed was the biggest brick which man had ever made, up to that time." Developed as a variation of his earlier Unicel design, Unishelter was a self-contained, portable housing unit that utilized the same stressed-skin plywood construction Goldberg had developed for the Unicel boxcar. The design bears influence of his work on the Standard Houses and work for the OSS developing plywood gun crates that could be converted to houses.

The "bricks" looked very much like boxcars with windows. Unishelter homes were made by assembling two unit types, one of bedrooms and another with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom. The units could be combined to form dwelling units of various sizes. The houses were anchored to the site and they needed no foundation. Goldberg believed that the units could serve purposes well beyond their initial residential intentions; they could be combined to form shopping units, clinics, or schools. In transit, the Unishelter could be packed with materials and equipment, serving double purpose as a freight carrier. Promotional materials proclaimed that " a whole town of Unishelter comfortably livable homes can be erected over night." Despite this optimism, the venture never achieved widespread success. However, it was reported that the US Army shipped 2000 units to their troops in Alaska.