Designers propose folding houses for refugees in Kenya.

June 29 22:13 2022
Portable shelters for refugees.

Winning entry

There is palpable chaos in human society when order breaks down. This is often the case, seen in conflict-ridden regions around the world. Unstable social, political, or environmental conditions force citizens to flee their nation land and seek refuge elsewhere. The number of such refugees, displaced over time, has been increasing at an alarming rate. The unrest or stigma in their home country is never-ending, hence they seek shelter in other nations. 

More than 80 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, of which 26.3 million people are refugees. 

The accommodation of most of these refugees is done by developing countries. The task at hand is to provide an immediate shelter that is safe and provides supplies for a short time. Even though the concept is temporary, most refugee camps are forced to exist, way beyond the time that they were planned for. 

How can we negotiate for a better life for these refugees who do not belong anywhere?

The capacity of camps is limited, but in real life, it ends up accommodating more refugees than it was originally intended to. This causes a strain on the infrastructure and facilities on campgrounds. The urgency of displacement conditions requires swift action, which may lead to abrupt shelter planning. The land is one of the most valuable resources offered by host countries. The shelter is the primary necessity of a refugee and its quality needs to be of respectable standards. Traditional refugee camp shelters face challenges of density due to uncontrollable sprawl, which leads to the commotion and a lack of security. 

Refugee homes are congested with poor spatial design. Even though the shelters are required to be temporary and to be built with limited resources, it is essential to ensure that they fulfill the basic humanitarian requirements as well as provide a safe and stable environment for their occupants. Refugee camps are more like informal cities and we need to tailor the living experience to be a sustainable form of aid that is beneficial for both the refugees and the host communities.

Brief: The challenge was to design a folding house model that is transportable and does not consist of a settled building.

A dynamic, flexible, and evolving form of design is to be extracted to create new standards for refugee settlements. The foldable house will be occupied for about 18-24 months by its users. The design must take into consideration the environmental context and its constraints. The aim of the challenge is to encourage participants to rethink the design of a traditional refugee camp shelter and propose a type of foldable house that can be erected on a small plot of land in a short amount of time with the least manpower. The foldable house must be constructed using minimal resources.  

Some of the Best competition projects are as follows:

Winning Project: House of hope

By: Jiangxin Wen

Description: The project in Ifo, Kenya proves an elegant architectural solution for people who are living in a hard environment, which creates a sustainable, comfortable, and hopeful life standard for the area. It will also be an effective urban intervention based on the module system.

People’s Choice: The Collapse

By: Merve Kucukkose

Description: Designed as a game from design to installation, Integrow aims to interact with all its users, especially children, and to grow with this interaction.

Editor’s Choice: Crumple

By: Adriane Orion

Description: This project investigates the housing crisis in the Dadaab camp in Kenya. The manifesto in which the geometry reidentifies the process of inhabitable foldable tensile structure. This manifold creates a three-dimensional space that allows refugees to designate their own spaces based on their own needs.

Editor’s Choice: Project:D-4m

By: Emirbek Isakov

Description: Due to the specifics of the area and circumstances, I made a decision to design a project, which would meet not only the requirements of the contest but also follow two criteria – the availability of materials and the lowest price for the completion of the project. Of course, You can create a modern construction, but there is no reason if half of humanity can.

Editor’s Choice: SCISSORS House: Nomadic HOMES

By: John Adeweso

Description: Every good architecture should tell a story. Ours is the story of the form, function, and culture of a people. This gave birth to a User-centric, Eco-Responsive, and Culture-Conscious Prototype. To a different sect of people, the concept of home comes in different dimensions.

Click here to check the other top entries.

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