I thought I had seen it all when it came to FEMA trailers: Families of nine packed in like sardines, perky television hosts who turned the trailers into retreats, but this is new. Faculty and students in MIT’s Visual Arts Program have transformed one surplus trailer into a green mobile composting center, called “Armadillo.”

The name refers to the trailer’s ribbed retractable shell, which protects the permaculture library and indoor multipurpose space inside. The unit is also fitted with vertical gardens and a rain catchment system.

Jae Rhim Lee, director of the MIT FEMA Trailer Project and visiting lecturer at the MIT Visual Arts Program, says the Armadillo is “both a practical tool and a metaphor for how disaster can be transformed into a tool for environmental and community change.”

On June 18th, the trailer will be handed over to Side Street Projects at a ceremony at the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in Boston. Side Street is an artist-run organization that supports visual artists with a variety of services.

For more information, visit the MIT Armadillo site, view a timeline of the project, or watch the video below.

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