Updated on February 28, 2024


Created on June 1, 2020

Cortex Shelter

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Cortex Shelter is a housing solution that uses a rollable concrete fabric that hardens in place when hydrated.

Developed By Unknown
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Product Description

The Cortex Shelter is a self-built housing solution for emergency situations. The shelter combines a rollable concrete fabric technology and a metallic tube framing building system. The prototype module consists of a house of 24.9 m² (dimensions 11.5 m length, 3.6 m wide, and between 2.1 m and 2.95 m high) and the layout includes a multi-functional room (20.7 m²), toilet (2.07 m²), and shower area (2.07 m²).

Target Users (Target Impact Group)

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Manufacturing/Building Method

Step 1: Delivery of building kit Step 2: Unpack building kits Step 3: Unroll concrete mats for the floor and hydrate Step 4: Assemble envelope panels. a) assemble metallic tube framing; b) unroll concrete mats; and c) unroll and install interior insulation panels. Step 5: Attach side panels Step 6: Hydrate envelope and side panels, let dry Step 7: Install doors, windows, and utilities

Intellectural Property Type

Select Type

User Provision Model

Distributions to Date Status


Intended number of occupants (#)

5 occupants

Speed of assembly (h)

24 h

Footprint area (m²)

24.9 m²

Internal volume (m³)

90.16 m³

Material composition

The envelope of the house (walls and roof) is made of panel segments composed (from outside to inside) of a geosynthetic cementitious composite mat, a metallic tube framing structure, and stone-wool insulating material. The floor is made of the same mat used for the walls.

Lifespan (years)

30+ years

Flammable flash point temperature (ºC)


Maximum snow load (kg/m²)


Maximum wind speed (km/h)


Suitable climates

All climates

Design Specifications

The Cortex Shelter combines two main technologies: Geosynthetic composite mat for in-situ hydration or "rollable concrete mat," and a bendable metallic tube construction system or "metallic tube framing." The rollable concrete mat is a fabric commonly used in the construction of infrastructure for water management, agriculture, landfill & waste, oil & gas, erosion control, and mining. The mat is applied on-site on top of the supporting surface or structure and then hydrated and left to dry for 72 hours. When it hardens, the mat creates a solid concrete shell that is also water-proof. The concrete mat is used for the floor, walls, and roof of the shelter. The bendable tubes, on the other hand, consist of square-section tubes of custom-made dimensions. The tubes have pre-made cuts that allow builders to bend the tubes by hand to form architectural structures. The system does not require specialized tools or labor.

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Provided by the manufacturer.

Replacement Components



30+ years

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

The manufacturer aims to reduce up to 90% or the amount of concrete used in similar buildings and to double the compressive strength of traditional concrete. The reduction of concrete also increases carbon savings up to 90%, according to the manufacturer. Other performance targets mentioned by the manufacturer include assembly time reduction, technical labor required, and waste. The performance statistics of the rollable concrete mat provided by the manufacture includes:

  • Compression Strength: 7,000 psi (AMST C-109)
  • Flexural Strength: 1,500 psi (AMST C-947)
  • Punctural Resistance: 1,500 psi (AMST D-4833)
  • Packaging: 8’ x 100’ x 0.5’’
  • Ready for use in 72 hours after hydration

Vetted Performance Status

Testing performed by the manufacturer determined compression strength at 48.62 Mpa/in (AMST C-109), flexural strength at 10.34 Mpa/in (AMST C-947), and punctural resistance at 10.34 Mpa/in (AMST D-4833), however, no third-party testing has been found.


No known safety hazards are related to this product.

Complementary Technical Systems

A reliable source of clean water is required for the hydration of the rollable concrete mat.

Academic Research and References

Scholzen, A., et al., 2015, Thin-Walled Shell Structures Made of Textile-Reinforced Concrete, Structural Concrete, 16(1), pp. 106–14.

ASTM D8173-18, Standard Guide for Site Preparation, Layout, Installation, and Hydration of Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mats, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, www.astm.org

Compliance with regulations

The rollable concrete textile used for the Cortex Shelter complies with ASTM Standards for Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mats.

Other Information

Other key elements included in the Cortex Shelter are solar panels, safe entrance door with key, toilet, shower, and electric cooking stove.

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