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).
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
User Provision Model
Distributions to Date Status
Intended number of occupants (#)
Speed of assembly (h)
Footprint area (m²)
Internal volume (m³)
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.
Flammable flash point temperature (ºC)
Maximum snow load (kg/m²)
Maximum wind speed (km/h)
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.
Provided by the manufacturer.
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 key elements included in the Cortex Shelter are solar panels, safe entrance door with key, toilet, shower, and electric cooking stove.