The National Parks Service (NPS) wants visitors to experience the solitude, silence and beauty of the outdoors, without necessarily being treated to unpredictable weather, pests and uncomfortable nights trying to sleep on the ground. Camper cabins are intrinsic to many new park designs, and when the NPS asked the University of Miami to design a prototype for use in the Florida Everglades, project director and professor Rocco Ceo approached TUUCI, a Miami, Fla., maker of exotic shade structures for the world’s most exclusive resorts, to join the team.
TUUCI donated both high-performance fabric and CAD-based design and engineering expertise to make a prototype called the Eco Tent with a cantilevered ceiling that allows the breezes to filter through. The 200-square-foot structure built in the Flamingo section of the park was conceived as a way to provide overnight accommodations in the Everglades after hurricanes Wilma and Katrina devastated an existing motel and rental cabins in 2005. The distinctive structure sits on a two-foot-high base and features a 12-foot high ceiling and flooring made of bamboo and recycled plastic bottles. Side screens keep out mosquitoes and solar power provides electricity.