A father and son team have pooled their knowledge of architecture and business to create a field shelter for disaster zones.
Jim Rooney from James Rooney Chartered Architects in north Belfast and his son Christopher, a final-year business and law student at UCD in Dublin, have designed the Hexi-House, a hexagonal structure designed to accommodate a family of five for three to five years.
The product is designed from sustainable materials and is low cost, easy to assemble - reducing the need for skilled labour during an emergency - and includes a roof capable of capturing rain water and a raised floor to ensure the living area is kept dry.
The pair are now using a Creative Industries Innovation Funding grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to help further develop the concept over the coming months.
The pair are set to explore the full potential of the hexagonal plan form to create a larger housing area, modelled on the stone columns of the Giant's Causeway.
While attending a social entrepreneurship course in July 2012, Chris Rooney was tasked with coming up with a new sustainable housing system for developing countries that would use recycled materials in the process - and after one phone call to his father, the Hexi-House idea was formed.
Jim Rooney said that the funding helped broaden his skills and help explore developing markets.
"Having specialised for years in the design of luxury homes for individual clients we are now looking forward to the challenge of developing Hexi-House as a sustainable, disaster relief shelter that offers a low-cost, medium-term housing solution to address the needs of disaster victims," he said.
"This Arts Council and DCAL funding will enable us to complete the 3D modelling, expand our marketing capabilities and carry out research and development work to help us fine tune our choice of materials and our construction techniques."