Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Human-centered Design

Refugee Camp Shelter/Structure, Is it architecture?
Is it Architecture? Which is better?  What makes it better?
I am documenting the photos of different refugee shelters from various countries. The last video shows the shelter designed by architect.

1- Dedaab Refugee camp Structure.
This is a sad narrative of the temporary structures.  They are as shown in the photos, made by plastic sheets and tins and clothes. There are dried branches as walls. Want to know more about the shelters and people living in them, please read the book, "City of Thorns" by Ben Rawlence.
It seems like the largest refugee camp, Dedaab in Kenya, where the approx. 400,000 refugees live with the fictional dream which are difficult to sustain after more than 20 years. They are not allowed to work and earn, as well as they are not allowed to leave the camp so they live in those temporary structures for 10 to 20 years. Check out the tents made from whatever materials available to them.

An Aerial view of one of the camps at Dadaab, Kenya; credit B.Bannon, UNHCR
2- Container Shelter

Syrian refugees are moved to these sturdier houses made from container boxes. These are Syria but towards the border of Turkey

Syrian Refugees transferred to containers shelter Credit-

Credit- Kilis, a refugee camp in Turkey near the Syrian border. 
CreditTobias Hutzler for The New York Times

Bakka Camp in Lebanon credit- Dubai Media Office

Bakka Valley, Credit
3-Better Shelter by IKEA in Europe for Refugees

IKEA Foundation along with Swiss architects came up with the best solution. This structure is durable and easy to install, costs $1000, but of course these are shipped in Europe.Check out the video below.
IKEA Shelter equipped withinsulated and sturdy panels plus solar powered LED light which can give electricity for few hours in the night for reading
Check out the video below-



  1. This is an important issue, especially since the current refugee population worldwide is 22.5 million. When these buildings are going to house people for 12 years or more there are so many considerations: climate, durability, functionality. The difference between the temporary structures in Dedaab, and the Better Shelter is incredible. You can barely believe they're supposed to serve the same purpose.

    Refugia Stein @ Container Domes

    1. Thank you for the comment! If companies design and manufacturer affordable and adaptable structures with the use of technology,that could be initial step but then to get them accessible to people is another challenge. I can not even wrap my head around the challenges but hope someone is working towards it.