The Refugee City

A study for creating a self-sufficient refugee city in the Middle East for a long-term situation using local materials and knowledge combined with manufactured building parts.

In most emergency outbreaks a huge amount of people flee to refugee camps and are in need of protection, shelter, food and medics for an unknown amount of time. The duration of their stay depends on the pace of the war or natural disaster. The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) has been utilising a variety of solutions to accommodate the people. Based on my research, I can imply that most of these units are poorly maintained and perform indigent during low and high temperatures. There are no progressive public to private zones. The core shelter – the tent – is not upgradable, nor recyclable or reusable. Furthermore it seems that most units are not utilising the environmental resources, such as the sun and earth, in an intelligent manner to supply the shelters with heat, water and electricity. Finally, all camps eventually perform as cities located far from the existing cities, sadly this off-the-grid (OTG) notion is not explored beforehand during a design phase to be prepared for the future. The objective is to develop an off-the-grid refugee city based on local materials and environmental resources. The design should have the ability to be realised on different locations. The shelters should exchange energy, climate and waste.


The exponential growth and inauguration of refugees around the world transform the connotation of the temporary perception. New cities build by refugees occur around the globe in exiled locations with scarce connections to the existing population for ten, twenty or even forty years. Generations are born, living and working in camps with no external contact. Poor conditions in the camps demoralise refugees to take part in the new beginning.This research addresses the refugee camp, “Dara Shakran”, as an evolving city. A city, which should have been developed with the mindset for the future. The isolated attribute of the city is embraced. Solutions on generating energy, reusing waste, building with local materials are the first steps to the creation of the off- the-grid city.


Read More

August 23, 2018


Archiprix NL 2016 Nomination


Arbil, Iraq

Project Type

Housing / Urban

error: Content is protected!