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Hot Box

Hot Box is a modular, prefabricated and rapidly deployable system that aims to revolutionize outdoor dining in the city of Chicago.

Photo of Francisco Lopez de Arenosa
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Hot Box is a modular, prefabricated and rapidly deployable system that aims to revolutionize outdoor dining in the city of Chicago. Using minimal and highly affordable mechanical equipment, hot air is fed through a slim, insulated base and delivered through adjustable vents below dining tables, allowing diners to remain outdoors and exposed to open ventilation during the harsh winter months.  


The modules are built using standard steel components for swift, mass production and easy delivery. This highly adaptable system caters to restaurants and events of all sizes, with components that are easily assembled on site. Its standardized panel system allows restaurants to customize their space with branding or artwork, while simultaneously shielding customers from one another to minimize the risk of COVID-19. 


This highly affordable system aims to reinvigorate the hospitality industry with a safe, comfortable winter dining experience.



Idea Title

Hot Box

Company / organization name (if applicable)

N/A

Website (if applicable)

N/A

Please include a visual representation of your concept, including but not limited to images, diagrams, or 2D / 3D graphics

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Solution Overview

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Feasibility

Production: The system is designed using standardized and readily available construction materials (steel angle, rigid foam insulation, steel tube, 4” diffusers, plywood and vinyl flooring) for easy production. Each of the components would be prefabricated and assembled on site.


Delivery: The Hot Box base, poles, panels, ADA ramp and canopy are easily packed into a flatbed truck for swift delivery to restaurants.


Assembly: Using Hot Box’s proprietary locking system, each of the components are easily assembled on site with minimal tools and equipment. The system can also accommodate a variety of configurations to meet the needs of any space. 


Heat Source:To reduce costs, Hot Box bipasses the need for expensive HVAC mechanical equipment, and instead, uses a simple corded heat blower ($150-$300/unit). The system can easily incorporate multiple heat sources to accommodate various sizes and configurations of commercial spaces. 



Technical Overview

Prototyping: The modular system can be prototyped and rigorously tested at a small scale. 


COVID-19 Safety: The latest research indicates that COVID-19 may be spread through aerosols rather than droplets. This is precisely why Hot Box is designed for open air, to allow for maximum natural ventilation. With hot air circulating from below restaurant clients, the idea is to circulate air upwards and reduce the risk of spread as much as possible.


Weatherproofing: Hot Box was designed specifically in response to Chicago winters, which can fluctuate aggressively. For the periods of time when temperatures drop below freezing, the modules can be sealed in order to conserve heat. 



Equity

Affordability and Access: By prefabricating and mass-producing the components, the system is designed to be highly affordable. But recognizing the hardships that the hospitality industry has experienced in recent months, the modular system could also alternatively be facilitated through the city and/or private companies, who could front the costs and lease the components to restaurants at a reasonable rate. ADA Compliant: ADA ramp with a guardrail included.

Prototyping

Design Process: The makers of Hot Box went through a rigorous design process that aimed to solve the financial feasibility and constructability with highly detailed components. The system was conceived  in accordance with the IBC and it is ADA compliant. 



User Research

Versatility: The Hot Box system’s modular components aim to cater to restaurants and events of all sizes. Using it’s proprietary locking mechanism and heating system, outdoor spaces can be expanded or contracted as necessary. 



Covid-19 Safety

COVID-19 Safety: The latest research indicates that COVID-19 may be spread through aerosols rather than droplets. This is precisely why Hot Box is designed for open-air, to allow for maximum natural ventilation. With hot air circulating from below restaurant clients, the idea is to circulate air upwards and reduce the risk of spread as much as possible.The use of divider walls adequately shield adjacent tables from another in order to ensure safety and restore confidence to restaurant clientele. 



Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Tim Footle: Practicing architect at Chicago’s Antunovich Associates, MArch from IIT, over 14 years of professional experience in Architecture and Construction. Francisco Lopez de Arenosa: A Communications Manager at the local architecture firm Valerio Dewalt Train, with a MArch degree from the U of Arizona. Nick Riedel: Chicagoan, 15 years experience in Construction & Architecture, currently CPM at Melton Design Build. Holds MArch& MS in Sustainability from the U of Arizona.

Please describe your legal or organizational structure

N/A

In what city are you / your team located?

Chicago, IL

In what country are you / your team located?

United States of America

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

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Photo of Christy Riedel
Team

This is a great idea for outdoor space during the cold months. It looks as though it would be affordable and easy to produce quickly as we approach winter.

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