MOBILE SHOWER UNIT
Mira was a mobile shower unit designed for CHiPS, a nonprofit soup kitchen and women’s shelter in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In 2016, this trailer was the first of its kind in New York City.
It would be parked outside the shelter during soup kitchen hours year-round, providing hot showers for the homeless population. Each retrofitted unit would cost $59,560 to apportion 2 shower stalls with ample dressing space. The interior design allowed the unit to be easily cleanable and maintainable; the walls and furniture would be constructed out of vividly colored stainless steel, and the floor of the shower out of naturally anti-bacterial teak wood. During service hours, volunteers working for the shelter would distribute clean socks, toiletries, and towels donated by local businesses, including hotels. The trailer would be locked up overnight in a nearby church after hours.
Mira started as a group project for students in Professor Jeanne Pfordresher's Design for Human Kind course at Pratt Institute. Though the course allowed for 20 students, only 5 signed up. Over the next 4 months, my classmates and I would volunteer at CHiPS (Community Help in Park Slope, Inc.) while gathering information to develop the mobile shower unit. However, after the first couple of weeks, my team members found other needs within the shelter that could improve with better design, and Mira became a solo project.
While volunteering in the soup kitchen, there were chances to speak to the population when they came in to eat. Interviews with these people were important because while the client was CHiPS, they were the users. Initially, the sole purpose of the shower unit was the shower. But after these interviews, it became apparent that a change room in need.
PROGRAMS USED /
Industrial Design Student
Jerry Q, Jeanne P
User Research, Desktop Research, & Initial Sketches
Final Design & Mockup
At the end of the semester, Mira was presented to CHiPS founder Denise Scaravella and other attendees in a public panel. The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Museum hosted the event in conjunction with its exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America, with Pratt Institute, with additional support from CaringKind.
A year after the project began, Mira started taking on public attention.