• By the end of 2012, the Institute will be well known to the faculty of most Architectural Schools throughout the world. It would conceivably by then be very easy to recruit students for summer stages at our different facilities. By gaining insight in our methods as a trade-off for their help, those students will vastly enrich and help spread the Archimede gospel for stronger building shells. Seeding the entire profession at this early date in their career, many of these students will chose to forego conventional practice later on and devote their energies to promoting the thousands of needed shelters before the end of the 2010 decade.

  • On the same schedule, our affiliate offices would recruit local contractors willing to invest a month of their time to learn the Archimede ways. By 2012, we hope to have had the time and energy to clone our head office in several other locations closer to frequent disaster afflicted areas.


These are the eight years where the hurricane shelter project will really be implemented worlwide. After a promotional campaign in 2008, we expect to be training crews in Mexico to manufacture the components to produce and erect these in the affected zones of their country. These people sent to us by their government or NGOs will live with us in Cantamar for the time it takes for them to fully integrate our techniques.


We intend to use the rest of 2007 to raise money and to get in touch with the rebuilding authorities in several areas, namely in Bangladesh, Peru, and Haiti, recent victims of natural disasters. We are completing several design programs:
  • A cyclone shelter for 500 people at below $60K. one that can be completed in 1 month by a semi-skilled crew.
  • A red cross first aid station that can resist cyclones and tsunamis.
  • A tsunami-proof kit house at below $30K, unfinished.
  • An aseptic heli-portable surgical module that is autonomous and air conditioned.
  • A container based portable factory capable of producing 100 panels a day for shelters above.
  • Our new institute training program for manufacturing.
2008 will be the year when we complete our inernational network of affiliates. Tentatively, we aim to have a presence in Dakra BD---Singapore MY---Ho Chi Minh City VN---Beijing CN---Tokyo JP--- Honolulu US---San Diego* US---Cantamar**MX---Dallas*US---Miami* US---Philipsburgh* N.A.---Caracas VE---New York US---Montréal* CA---Paris* FR---Geneva CH---Moscow RU---Rome IT--- Abijan CI--- Istambul TR---Yerevan* AM---Teheran IR
(* single asterisk indicate existing links that we are developing-** Our home office)


Our Cantamar MX office and research facility (on the right in aerial view ) has in 2007 launched the Institute as we know it, graduating from 35 years of design and manufacturing into a non-profit society. Its aim is to implement sturdier and more economical construction techniques for the benefit of populations afflicted by natural disasters on a regular basis. The long rectangle shows our shop, part of which is periodically transformed into a wind tunnel for testing refugee tents. That part has an earth floor simulating average soils where such tents are often erected. We have found in 2007 some clever solutions to the wind problems that can be seen here.





Thanks to a generous fund provided by Private Capital Inc. and it's owner, Ronald Smith (left on photo), the Archimede Institute has fully tested a series of small buildings that can be erected in a few hours. The one shown here is an aseptic field operating room that is air conditioned and can be hosed down clean inside and out. The heaviest component weighing in at 30 kilos, two nurses could theoretically put one up on their lunch break, to use a little Cajun exageration. The entire package can be air freighted in a small crate that fits in any air cargo hold.
Note: Photo taken on a hot day after a few Cajun beers. ;-) I'm the sober one on the right.

The Rhombic Dodecahedral Geometry

(text from Wikipedia)
The rhombic dodecahedra honeycomb is a space-filling tessellation (or honeycomb) in Euclidean 3-space. It is the Voronoi diagram of the face-centered cubic sphere-packing, which is believed to be the densest possible packing of equal spheres in ordinary space (see Kepler conjecture).

It consists of copies of a single cell, the rhombic dodecahedron. All faces are rhombs, with diagonals in the ratio 1:√2. Three cells meet at each edge. The honeycomb is thus cell-transitive, face-transitive and edge-transitive; but it is not vertex-transitive, as it has two kinds of vertex. The vertices with the obtuse rhombic face angles have 4 cells. The vertices with the acute rhombic face angles have 6 cells.

The rhombic dodecahedron can be twisted on one of its hexagonal cross-sections to form a trapezo-rhombic dodecahedron, which is the cell of a somewhat similar tessellation, the Voronoi diagram of hexagonal close-packing.

In plain English: If you took a can of peas, drained it and packed some of the peas tightly between your two cupped hands, you would obtain:

  • a bunch of peas each with twelve identical flat faces, parallellogram shaped
  • no void between each peas until you separate them
  • very messy hands.
  • The resulting shape is the strongest thing next to a sphere
  • It is arguably the strongest object you can create using flat surfaces

Hundred of houses built this way have been trhough terrible hurricanes and earthquakes,


This acrylic scale model built in 1979 was the inspiration for a 30 year effort in building stronger better prefabricated homes. The configuration variety provided by these identical panels, their angles of intersection providing 3 axis of resistance to lateral forces instead of 2, the multiple orientations of the views provided gave Poirier a rush he could not resist to build them for all these years. Since 1979, a few changes were brought about, the actual rhombic dodecahedron was actually squashed vertically, then some roofs were transformed into 6-side pyramids, but the essential merit of the shape remained intact as the panels and the shells were proven to be equal or more resistive than planned.
This merit is firstly the unusually high resistance to side loads. This diagram makes it easy to understand what makes this possible. Whatever the direction


This 15-minute video was put together by the Institute to give a hint as to what the Archimede Solutions can look like. The first half brushes a wide historical perspective while the last half introduces the newer techniques adopted in our latest synthesis in Mexico. The reinforced concrete approach is being fully industrialized so as to both simplify and speed up the erection process. Along with our modular pods containing finished bathroom and electrical walls, we are thus providing true prefabrication having these 5 characteristics:
No other prefabricated system meets any more than 2 of of these 5, this at any price. We rightly describe ourselves as offering fully permanent housing and shelter from container-shipped components and local concrete.

We cannot show plant equipment, assembly methods, service core module, and finished components because these are currently part of the patent process, requiring that none of our ideas be published prior to full patent application. Associates and affiliated groups will be able to access these pages.

Cantamar Location Of The Institute

We are located less than 50 miles south of the US border in San Diego, having access to 2 container terminals within one hour (Ensenada MX and San Diego CA). We have what is hailed as the best weather year-round in North America. We have a pool of good laborers and we consistently form long-lasting skills with our employees and associates. Our shop is situated next to the toll highway and 400 feet from our office situated on the other side, by the sea. We are building right now an extension to house our material laboratory and eventually our design office and classroom for 12. Our training program are already being promoted to foreign clients and we expect to start training specialized crews this coming winter. Meanwhile our offices are in one part of my private residence and that is working fine for now.

Good results can only be had when the social and physical environments for work are good. We are proud to say that our Cantamar location provides the best possible scenario for the
development of ideas that fit the client's need perfectly. Our proximity to the USA gives quick access to specialists, some materials, high-tech tools and instruments when needed, and quick access to what are reputed to be the best airport in each country. In addition, the friendly atmosphere created by our Mexican co-workers in ideal to help shape the qualities that we expect to develop in our students of construction, of plant management or work site supervision. We are totally happy at the Institute and we will love sharing that creative joy with you. JBP. Dir.


This was our 'Project For A New Millennium' , a revamped Archimede that looses some of its purity for still greater flexibility . By creating different roofing and base panel arrangements, we could now achieve greater speed and convenience of assembly, thanks in part to three great subsystems. The house below is one of the few 'individual house' we will build for promotional purposes, selling it later to help finance our caritative operations.

While we are still at the patent application stage, we need to abstain from posting relevant pictures. But for our affiliates and collaborators we will put together a presentation that is visible in these pages with an access code. The Institute will grant free use of all its patents to deserving or needy geographic locations. We train select personnel from these at our Mexico facilities, teaching product and process techniques directly, using the methods and machinery that we create for them. Also we are about to 'cast' prototypes on purchased land situated near our plant. We intend to complete these 'demos' this year, some of which are visible here on the Paraiso web site These lands will not be serviced by electricity for another year or two and we are tempted to use a solar package with wind turbine and panels on at least one of them. They are intended for human and physical testing and will provide support for our international action.

  • Patent law is strict on one point, the fact that one cannot apply for a patent on a principle or technique that was already published, thus in the public domain. While our lawyers are not certain if a 'private blog' constitutes 'publication', we are taking no chances due to the immense cost of these patents.


This period was crucial for the foundation of the Institute because of our director Poirier's venture into the world of conventional architecture, designing and building everything from corporate headquarters to gasoline stations. After having spent nearly 20 years in the industrial sector, he felt the need to reconnect with conventional construction and new building techniques, their documentation and execution. He joined the Royal Institute of Architects of Canada, taught briefly at the University of Montreal and renewed his Canadian architectural license. Research was never very far as Poirier managed to innovate in several fields during that period. Writing a complete 3D software package from scratch still used by its client , a stairs manufacturer, the director of the Institute now has brought us an incredible logistics and design set of tools that can guarantee the smooth execution of our development and growth program. N.B.


In 1985, Poirier sold the Canadian Patent to his partner and immigrated to the US where he set up plants, first in New Mexico, then in Florida and Louisiana . He pushed research in several directions, adpating to desertic, then tropical and then cyclonic environments.
Soon it became know by developers of resorts that the Archimede houses could take it on the chin, having successfully gone through several big one unscathed. In 1995, Poirier was himself in one ot these condos when Luis hit the island of Sint Maarten with unusual ferocity. Again no damage to the 40 condos in Guana Bay Beach where winds were clocked at 285 mph (+400 km/he). In his own words, Poirier got 'a postgraduate degree in hurricane resistance' just by spending the next two weeks scouting the island to analyse breakage of materials in a force 5 hurricane. This one had sat on the island for 12 hours, destroying to an amazing degree. After 15 days, planes could land and our director went into a more conventional architectural practice and to the University of Montreal as an invited teacher of architecture and part-time researcher. But the 'manufacturing bug' bit again in 1997!


1980 is the year when Jacques Poirier, our founding derector at the Institute and Placide Poulin, a successful businessman got together to set up Archimede Systems Inc. This new housing manufacturer set in Eastern Quebec got its start in an incredibly bad financial crisis (interest rates at around 20%!) yet quickly sold hundreds of revolutionary houses in several countries. Based on the rhombic dodecahedral geometry as shown in our top of the page spinner, these shells were incredibly sturdy*. Poirier designed the machinery and modified an injection process he had earlier learned in the RV and in the ski business. Canadian and US Patents were granted in 84, at which time Poirier chose to pursue the development of these ideas in the US, seling his Canadian Patent to his partner(s).


In the later half on the seventies, Poirier's familiarity with production systems brought him to the booming RV business. Starting with tent trailers, he graduated to camping trailers and then motor homes. Finally, a revolutionnary mobile home building technique was developed by a team led by him as chief designer with Bellevue Industries. These ho,es were made up of only 4 wall panels, one roof panel and one floor panel, forming a box that was both rigid and insulated. The world's largest press was built 25m x 5m x 5m deep, a giant concrete and steel 'toaster' capable of 9 million pounds of pressure, enough to contain these giant panels while they were being injected with polyurethane foam. This box construction allowed for maritime shipping without deconsolidation of the structure. Export to 3 continents of prefab homes, double and triple wide, was the next step. Algeria, Crete, France, and several other countries have received those house. Poirier's foray into a field that quickly became his own was the first of a large export effort from Canada. The Institute ows a lot to those intense five years that in the end gave birth to the Archimede concept. Poirier was rewarded by his peers as the architect who did the most for the housing export trade.



Ron Smith and myself put together this $20,000. press, one that is easily transportable and reassembled anywhere, sometimes under different formats. Capable of batch injecting up to thirty thinner panels or ten extra thick panels, it has it's own loading and unloading setup in the form of an overhead moveable beam and electric hoist. This feature makes it practical to remove the different size press platen between jobs. This press has the greatest potential for third-world reconstruction applications projects.


The Quebec of the early seventies provided our director with the chance to develop as an industrial designer, his first love. The snowmobiling boom quickly made him chief designer with a snowmobile manufacturer. At age 30, Poirier already signed the design of over $2 billion's worth of sold production . This included cross-country skis and several other products including RV's , motor homes and mobile homes.
To this day, Jacques swears by that initial jolting job in the industrial field; how else could he have acquired 'in-the-field' notions of resistance of materials, after-sales service, environmental problems, production machinery design and the like. Nothing like a good little war to form a great general later on.
Also, this is where he met another highly successful business man by the name of Placide Poulin. The latter was the original partner in the Archimede factory set up in 1980. After taking the MAAX corporation to a billion dollar conglomerate, he is now retired and chairman of the board of Camada, a venture capital group led by his brilliant daughter Marie-France. It was only fitting that this group is also the biggest sponsor of the Institute.

CANADA- Boucherville QC - Archimede Condo Groupings - Garden Style

In this 40 condo project near Montreal, 2 story condos (1600 ft2 + basement) are grouped three together back to back, forming large hexagons that are then grouped together2 or three at a time. The result is an advantageous set of clusters that give each owner an opening on a landscaped area without the view of his immediate neighbors. And the superior soundproofing and spatial qualities inside make these condos especially attractive for a medium density area that can benefit from landscaped paths and a geometry that for once is not orthogonal like Versailles gardens, but more like an English garden with much less compositional rigidity.