Ulmer Nest’s two-person shelters, evoking the aesthetics of capsule hotels, protect underprivileged German people not only from the wind but also rain and snow.
Prototypes of the sleeping pods were placed in the parks and public spaces of Ulm on January 8, giving homeless people shelter from cold weather, wind and precipitation.
The pods also provide fresh air circulation; however, to protect individuals’ right to privacy, cameras were not placed in them. Motion sensors notify social workers in case someone enters or leaves a sleeping pod, allowing them to monitor whether it’s necessary to clean and disinfect a capsule shelter.
The sleeping pods, made of metal and wood and equipped with solar cells, can also be used to communicate with their occupants via radio signals. When creating them, designers had those in mind who are not able to use the city’s conventional shelters because they have a pet or their mental state wouldn’t allow it.
The installation process would have started earlier according to the original plans, but the pandemic intervened. If the shelters prove to be an adequate protection against freezing, they might be introduced nationwide.
Source: Independent, press release