Penn State student is using his degree to help rebuild New Orleans

Video posted April 30, 2014 in News by Victoria Faconti


One Penn State student hopes to help the world with his thesis project for his master of architecture degree. After graduation in August, Aaron Wretman plans to use Apparatus X to help rebuild the hurricane ravaged New Orleans. Apparatus X is a repurposed recreational vehicle that when complete will be fitted with its own power and water source to maintain it as a self-containing vehicle. Wertmann has dreamed about this vehicle while earning his undergraduate degree.

Wertman hopes the vehicle will serve as a first-responder to natural disasters and aide in rebuilding communities that will need to bounce back after these disasters. The vehicle completely runs itself. There are three parts to the machine: micro-living, tool trailer, and flex space that will be used for necessities.

Wertman and his team of student assistants from engineering-related organizations on campus are in the process of transforming this vehicle. Sustainability is key for the Apparatus X as everything going into the vehicle is repurposed in some way. Wertman uses supplies from the original RV and old prop sets from the Penn State theatre department.

The Apparatus X hopes to be a template for hopefully future self-sustaining disaster relief vehicles. Wertman says that a vehicle for all types of disasters could be easily modified from his model.

The Apparatus X team has partnered up with the Lower Ninth Ward, which is a nonprofit community center in New Orleans. Wertman will stay in the area, and help rebuild and design the houses that were affected. Wertman is planning various fundraisers for Apparatus X. Online donations can be made at Indiegogo.