(New York, N.Y. – February 13, 2014) – The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation has awarded two grants totaling $12,500 to The Center for Sustainable Engineering, Art and Architecture at Cooper Union in New York City to support the Reuse of Available Material, Energy, Structures and Supplies for Emergency Shelter (RAMESSES) project.
The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation funds fellowships, scholarships and internships for undergraduate students, and those planning to pursue graduate studies in building engineering, design or technology.
The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation provided Cooper Union with a $7,500 grant and a $5,000 supplement to be used toward the purchase and construction of the RAMESSES kits in Ghana and Burkina Faso. Students will travel to Africa to source materials, deliver kits and test shelter designs.
Students participating in the project will develop geodesic dome shelters made of raw, biodegradable and indigenous materials to provide refugees or disaster victims with protection from the elements. The shelters must be suited to the culture and climate of sub-Saharan Africa.
“The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation is proud to provide these grants to Cooper Union for the RAMESSES project, which will not only provide these students with a stronger foundation of architecture and engineering, but will significantly benefit people who might need these shelters.”
Richard Tomasetti, chairman, Thornton Tomasetti Foundation
“We wanted to do something about the appalling conditions endured by the endless streams of refugees across sub-Saharan Africa. We set out to design a shelter that could be locally sourced in large quantities on short notice and be self-built by those on the move. Thanks to the generosity of the Thornton Tomasetti Foundation, we have an opportunity to take our ideas to the end user and start a conversation. Through this dialog, we will learn much about the requirements for shelter in flight – and gain some small insight into what being a refugee actually means. I cannot imagine a more humbling experience.”
Toby Cumberbatch, electrical engineering professor, The Cooper Union
The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization established in February 2008, is focused on funding fellowships, scholarships and internships for undergraduate students and those planning to pursue graduate studies in building engineering, design or technology. It also provides financial support for individuals and organizations pursuing philanthropic activities related to building engineering, design or technology. Key elements of the program are college scholarships, traveling internships and grants to and partnerships with nonprofit organizations.