Cricket Shelter:
Modular Edible Insect Farm

Credits: Mitchell Joachim (PI), Maria
Aiolova, Melanie Fessel
, Felipe
Molina, Matthew Tarpley, Jiachen
Xu, Lissette Olivares, Cheto

Castellano, Shandor Hassan,
Christian Hamrick, Ivan Fuentealba,
Sung Moon, Kamila Varela, Yucel
Guven, Chloe Byrne, Miguel
Lantigua-Inoa, Alex Colard.
Sponsor: Art Works for Change.



The continuous impact of climate
dynamics, armed conflicts, non-stop
urbanization and economic
upheavals present a distinct need for
a hybrid architectural topology to
deliver parallel solutions for food and
shelter in each distressed region. This
is a dual-purpose shelter and modular
insect farm bounded into one
structure. It’s intended for the
impending food crisis, where people
will need access to good sources of
alternative protein, as raising
livestock is not possible at our current
rate of consumption and resource
extraction. The United Nations has
mandated insect sourced protein is a
major component to solving global
food distribution problems.  This
impacts the diets of all peoples
across the globe.

In an advanced economic setting,
this farm can introduce a
sophisticated and ultra-sanitary
method of locally harvesting insects
for the production of cricket flour in
fine cuisine recipes. It can also serve
to be a new topology for a specialty
restaurant, eatery, storehouse or
similar architectural program.
Introducing crickets into the modern
American/ European diet is not a
simple task, but there is precedent.
For example, a few decades ago
American’s did not wish to eat raw
fish. Yet positive change
materialized after sushi was
introduced on a culturally refined
and hygienic level. The same kind of
approach needs to be embedded in
the cultivation of crickets to achieve
the cleanliness, quality, and purity of
the farm-to-table system.  Over two
billion people eat insects every day;
it’s time to reintroduce them into the
diets of the remaining population.

Raising cattle, pigs, and chicken for
meat products all require immense
amounts of fresh water. Harvesting
insects for food typical takes three
hundred times less water for the same
amount of protein. Our project aims
to maximize access to nutrient
resources and to deal with and
support local communities in
anticipation of post-disaster
scenarios. This also targets societal
upgrading strategies in both
developed and developing countries
as the temporary shelter easily
coverts to a permanent farming
system/ eatery after the crisis has

Structurally, the shelter can be
minimized into easily manufactured
and replicable elements such as a
simple CNC plywood archway with
linked off-the-shelf plastic containers
as infill surface. The current version
of the structure is more customized to
account for solar orientation, airflow
and varied spatial programs
internally. A computational model
was used to parametrically align all
of the individual containers to match
the archway splines. Each pre-
ordered container was modified to
add ventilation screens, flexible
insect sacks, locally controlled
louvers, and permeable feeder ports
with rotating locking mechanisms.
The wind quill ventilation
component magnifies the sound of
cricket chirping in columns of
vibrating air.     

The scheme has a multipronged
focus on international hunger
solutions, sustainable food
distribution methods and modular
compact architecture. A project of
this type is built for areas in
calamitous need both present and
future. We understand that our role in
the complex system of global
cooperation is to seek holistic
solutions that integrate
interdisciplinary knowledge and
citizen participation for shelter and
subsistence farming. It is essential to
understand the physical, social and
cultural substrate of developing
territories in which food and refuge is
simultaneously critical.
Nonprofit Organization for Philanthropic Architecture, Urban + Ecological Design.