About Smart Shelter Research

The Need for Research

Smart Shelter Research has identified the need for reliable and practical knowledge about the Seismic Behavior of Traditional Building techniques and Alternative Materials.

We want to find clear answers that are fully researched, tested, proven and approved. We have an innovative approach as we include variables, such as local material properties, site‐specific features, and the influence of local workmanship and regional building practice.

Basically, whatever is needed to build safe, sensible and seismic proof structures in developing countries.

Currently this has not been done for most of the traditional techniques!

Smart Shelter Research is a 100% open source platform for research, worldwide collaborations and exchange of knowledge. We aim to publish just 1 manual per technique, of which we are certain that the information is correct, complete, tested and easy to use.

To reach our goals we have set up an interactive division called SMARTnet. On this separate platform, we invite experts and professionals to share their expertise in discussions; establish collaborations; conduct research; review; validate and complement missing information. Students from all over the world can apply for our research assignments and collaborate with fellow students, experts and professionals from the field.

Think Smart, Build Safe!

How It Works

We invite students, professionals and experts from all over the world to join our design challenges and research assignments. The assignments are being executed at your university or institute, within your own curriculum and time frame.

Smart Shelter Research will act as the overall umbrella. We create networks, connect people, set up collaborations, enable exchange of knowledge, collect the data and manage the information streams.

Our research disciplines include: Architecture, Building Science, Civil, Structural and Earthquake Engineering, Geotechnics, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Product Design.

It will be a continuous process where everybody participates and everybody profits. So please join our program of your interest, visit SMARTnet for more participation information, or drop us a line via the contact page.

Who We Are

In 2005 the Smart Shelter Concept was started. It now consists of three divisions that focus on finding durable and alternative construction solutions for the developing and post-disaster context, as well as for modern architectural applications.

  • Smart Shelter Foundation is the NGO and builds for the poor in developing countries.
  • Smart Shelter Research focuses on low-tech construction related research projects.
  • Smart Shelter Consultancy transfers all the knowledge to students and professionals.

Martijn Schildkamp, founder and executive director.

Martijn is an architect and building engineer from The Netherlands, with a passion for alternative materials and experimental construction.

During his travels through Asia he was shocked by the harsh conditions in which so many people have to live. He started to dedicate his expertise and time to people across the globe, who are in need of better housing and improved living conditions. Since 2005 he founded three Smart Shelter divisions and researched, designed and built numerous projects in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Indonesia.

Martijn is specialized in building with alternative materials and methods, and developed a great interest in low-tech earthquake resistant principles. His activities are multi-disciplinary as he works as an architect, engineer, calculator, trainer, supervisor and mason all at the same time. Over the years he gained an enormous amount of grass root experience and practical knowledge, which he now transfers to students and professionals worldwide.

His philosophy and way of working has resulted in being a finalist for the largest design award in the world; Index Award. The theme of the award was ‘Design to Improve Life’. His CV can be downloaded here (80 kb).

Tessa van Weelie, coordinator.

Tessa joined Smart Shelter in 2007 and has been helping with the projects ever since. She supports the overall organization and helps with the projects on-site. She has a strong background in coordinating and planning, and is very good at getting things actually done. A good communicator with endless enthusiasm.

Please join us on Facebook and Twitter, if you want to be notified about the latest news.

Our Partners, Collaborators and Contributors

We are establishing a fast growing network of professionals, organizations, faculties and professors at universities worldwide. We are currently collaborating and exchanging knowledge with over 30 experts, whom are connected to one or more institutions of the following list:

  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), worldwide.
  • International Association for Earthquake Engineering (IAEE), worldwide.
  • World Housing Encyclopedia (WHE), worldwide.
  • Earthquake Watch Group, in Iran.
  • Pavia Engineering Commission for International Cooperation, in Italy.
  • Auroville Earth Institute, in India.
  • Engineers without Borders Ireland.
  • Engineers Without Borders Australia.


  • Dept. of Structural Engineering, Oregon State University in the USA.
  • Architecture and Community Design Program, University of San Francisco USA.
  • Dept. of Civil Engineering, California State University, Fresno USA.
  • Dept. of Structural Engineering, Tohoku Gakuin University in Japan.
  • Dept. of Civil Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
  • Dept. of Structural Engineering, University of Bergamo in Italy.
  • Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Bologna in Italy.
  • Dept. of Structural Engineering, Politecnico di Milano in Italy.
  • Dept. of Structural Engineering, University of Pavia in Italy.
  • Dept. of Structural Engineering, Széchenyi István University in Hungary.
  • College of Engineering, Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland.
  • Dept. of Building Engineering, Delft Technical University in The Netherlands.
  • Dept. of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.
  • Dept. of Earthquake Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee.
  • Dept. of Civil Engineering, Bangladesh Univ. of Engineering and Technology.
  • Understanding and Managing Extremes (UME), IUSS Pavia, Italy.
  • Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Limerick in Ireland.
  • Dept. of Industrial Design, University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.

For detailed information about how you can collaborate with our assignments, please contact us. We invite you to join!

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