See What Happens When Designers Reimagine Housing for Refugees
Nearly 60,000 refugees fleeing civil war and sectarian violence arrived in the Netherlands last year. But the small Western European country—it’s about half the size of West Virginia—didn’t have enough permanent housing to meet the needs of asylum seekers. As has happened in other cities across the continent, the Dutch government set up camps, but the living conditions were inadequate, and people can’t permanently live in tents.
That’s why in January, the office of the Netherlands’ state architect and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, or COA, launched the housing design competition “A Home Away From Home.” The competition asked entrants to create buildings that can be temporary lodging for refugees or disaster victims and can also be used for other free-market purposes—such as student housing or apartments.
FULL COVERAGE: The Global Refugee Crisis
“It is always a question in architecture how specific you design for your target audience,” Bram Zondag, codesigner of Solar Cabin, one of the winning concepts, wrote in an email to TakePart. “We did design for refugees, but we believe the building is more like a temporary home which is also usable for other groups.”
The following are prototypes of the winning designs, which are on display in Amsterdam until Oct. 30 as part of Dutch Design Week.