1st Prize - 2nd Prize - 3rd Prize - Honourable Mentions - Special Mentions - Finalist

The projects are inserted in alphabetical order.
List of finalists projects:


Project by: Chiara Raimondi, Valeria Magrì.
from Italy


Africa is a vast continent and its vastness encompasses many traditions and cultures. It was essential a first study of the traditions that characterize this continent and, in particular, of the fabrics that make up the typical clothes of this area. Clothing, such as food, tells much of the place and culture to which it belongs. They represent a real form of communication and expression of deep meanings, which go beyond its main function of covering the body. Depending on the geographical area, the historical period and the social context, the way of dressing has changed with the culture of the people. Wax is the name of the fabric that characterizes the clothes of sub-Saharan Africa and represents the meeting of the cultures of Asia, Europe and Africa. The typical colored fabrics originated in the Indonesian batik, which wanted to be industrialized in the Netherlands, but was then sold in Africa. Progressively, they have become an important symbol of African cultures and an emblematic fabric of the whole continent. The importance of wax is expressed in its communicative function: the stylized drawings on the fabrics are equipped with meanings of all kinds, to express the thoughts of the wearer. Precisely, from these assumptions we wanted to adopt, for the concept of the project, two symbols with different meanings. The first symbol, Kuronti Ne Akwamu, literally means strength and balance, but, detached from literary translation, we could transpose it with the broader concept of democracy. The design is formed by a square as a base form, in which only two quarters are filled by a thicker grid. The strength of this symbol lies in highlighting how in a population, thanks to the combination of two elements such as Kuronti (strength) and Akwamu (balance), it is possible to express the will of the community and live in harmony. The second symbol, Mframadan, has a different meaning: wind-resistant home. Of course the translation in this case is very literal, but the concept can be extended to the fortitude. The resistance is represented by the most solid geometry, that is the triangle, just for its indeformable shape. The guideline that led to the design development was the modularity, with which these geometries are alternated along the traditional fabrics. Specifically, thanks to the modularity of the thicker grids which compose the shape of the Kuronti Ne Akwamu, it was decided to adopt a grid formed by mesh size 3x3 meters. The environments were developed along two main axes, that help to reach the functions of the humanitarian emergency center. The force of the triangle inspired the geometry of the cover, wanting to ensure maximum stability and safety in any type of emergency. The modular design has allowed to satisfy the requirements of flexibility and adaptability, allowing to include various needs, that may arise during emergency operations, making it possible to configure different functional and distributive environments. Thanks to the use of the grid, 4 areas have been identified, of which: • 36 m2 will be used for storage; • 81 m2 will be used for management (offices, meeting rooms and services); • 100 m2 and 150 m2 will be used for assistance (health and psychological). These rooms will all be at the same altitude and will be placed above a platform raised of 1.00 m from the ground level. This platform can be accessed by stairs located on the south, west and north sides, or by a platform on the east side, at the health areas, in order to ensure accessibility. For each room were provided large main entrances, with width 2.00 m, and secondary entrances, with width 1.00 m. It has been decided to divide the interior spaces, instead, through the use of partitions, mountable, time-saving, removable on site with ease, so that they can be modified according to the different needs that may arise in the life cycle of the structure. For the same reason, the constructive system was devised with the purpose of allowing the conversion towards a different destination of use at the end of the emergency. Bamboo, a material of vegetable origin found in huge quantities in subtropical areas, including sub-Saharan Africa, has been chosen as a building material. It is a sustainable material with extreme lightness and flexibility, whose cultivation has great benefits on the environment. As for its structure, there are various types of bamboo that differ in the diameter and thickness of the exterior surface, called culmo. This material can be easily cut and worked, according to the needs, and possesses good mechanical characteristics, that have made it to be called vegetable steel. For the realization of vertical walls will be flanked transversally two uprights, made of bamboo rods (ψest = 10 cm) 1,00 m in length. These will be properly drilled to allow their connection with two bamboo elements of lower diameter (ψest = 5 cm), which will be inserted transversely interlocking between two pillars. Between the pairs of pillars, placed at a distance of 1.00 m, will be placed panels consisting of two layers, 90 cm in width. Each layer is composed by the vertical flanking of bamboo canes (ψest = 5 cm), connected then by two intermediate transverse elements of the same diameter, for a total thickness of 15 cm. These transverse elements, in turn, will have a total length of 1.10 m. They will therefore be protruding in such a way as to allow the interlocking between the pillars. For this reason, two types of panels have been designed, distinguished by the height of the transverse elements, in order to allow them to be combined between the same pillars. Finally, for the insertion of doors and windows, with width equal to 1.00 m or 2.00 m, have been designed pillars and special panels of different heights. Another special panel was designed for the corner solution. The foundations consist of bamboo elements of various length, with an external diameter of 10 cm. These elements will be combined on site, through appropriate assembly stages, so as to realize the plinths, transversally connected by additional pipes of equal diameter and length equal to 3.00 m, for intermediate connections, or equal to 3.50 m for angular connections. This will create a raised square mesh with a pace of 3.00 m and ledges of 50 cm at the sides. An important solution to avoid flood during the period of rain is the ability to insert between plinths specific tubs, that allow the structure to float, preserving the resistance of the construction and making it a safe place. For the realization of the horizontal closures will be realized, on site, panels wide 1.00 m given by the combination of more bamboo rods, with external diameter equal to 10 cm, tied together by rope. These panels, in turn, will be placed side by side to cover the orthogonal mesh below. For the lateral ledges, will be realized panels wide 50 cm. Finally, above these panels will be laid a wooden board surface. The three-dimensional structure of the roof, on the other hand, is made up of truss girders, wide 3.00 m, made by placing bamboo canes of different diameters and lengths on site. Between two truss girders will be arranged further bamboo elements, so as to create a second structure of coverage orthogonal to the first. Both structures will be completed by the subsequent placement of bamboo purlins, a thick mantle of small diameter reeds and half-barrels arranged in “coppo and channel”.


Project by: Mary Justine Del Rosario Semifrania, Claudia Tomassetti.
from Philippines


Design idea
The design idea of the structure revolves around its capacity to satisfy a necessity in any place the emergency will be and to adapt to it. The versatility of this building is run by the idea to transform itself in order to adapt to any situation and place. The building is flexible so it can resolve any specific need in terms of indoor spatial necessity. The modularity of the whole building allows the possibility of an eventual extension in case of the necessity of a bigger building that has to contain wider indoor spaces and amenities. The EOC structure is made of panels that divide the indoor space in smaller units creating modular spaces. The spatial development of the module allows the creation of areas of different sizes to be efficiently used in case of a specific need. The possibility of different spatial solutions is enabled by the modularity that characterizes the internal composition. The three main areas (management and organization of the emergency; assistance, reception and monitoring; storage room and logistic) are separated by the panels but eventually their spaces can merge and reduce their extension to the smaller unit of the module to give space to any emergency situation. The inside of the building is characterized by a panel system that can move to create ambiances that are able to fulfill the necessity. This system can transform itself and create rooms for first aid emergencies, areas than can adapt to necessities and opened or closed zones that can allow different types of activities. The structure of the panels is flexible as well as it is a modular composition. The sub-module can be made by local material cloths or it can become windows or doors according to the needs of the indoor space created by the dividers. The surfaces materials that fill the skeleton on the panel change from a specific spot to another according to its orientation to be efficiently used. The use of cloths enhances the identity value that the EOC should have as it can be built in any site in the Sub-Saharan area. In addition to being versatile in the inside, the EOC adapts itself to the place it has to be built and possesses building features that benefit of natural resources, such as a natural ventilation and a simple rainwater harvest. The building is designed raised above the ground level to ensure that it can be built regardless of the soil type. The structure is designed as a semi-permanent structure with the temporary one that is easily assembled and disassembled. Once its temporary parts are disassembled, the permanent ones, such as the laterite walls, the pavement, the perimetric panels and the roof, can host crafts activities or any other type of usage. The rainwater harvesting is a permanent part of the structure as it can be useful during the emergency as a “zen area” which will avail the patient or people with specific needs of a person-nature relationship with a small agriculture that will help them through this post-traumatic therapy. It will also be useful to the whole community once the emergency is over. The EOC creates a building that can fulfill an immediate necessity to resolve the emergency, it is designed to re-establish peace and security. Once the emergency is over, it will create new social and cultural development opportunities giving to the community a place to belong to.

Use of materials
The EOC is designed to be built using natural materials that can be found in the surroundings inside of the Sub-Saharan area. Laterite earth is efficient in terms of construction techniques because of its ancient use in the African buildings. The use of local wood is related to its fast assembly and its easy removal characteristics. Local wood frames fabric surfaces to create the perimetric panels and the divider ones. The surfaces are made of straw, twigs, non-woven fabric or cloths made by the locals. The suggested surfaces materials enhance their efficiency according to the use of the panel they fill. Non-woven fabric are best used to fill the panels that close first aid areas or epidemic containment rooms due to its aerosol holding capacity equal to 96%. Local materials allow the production of these cloths that are the means through which culture and traditions are passed, but mostly they contain the identity and recognisability of a specific place. The ceiling is covered with corrugated metal sheets that can be easily retrieved. It’s a low cost material and due to its flexibility it can be re-used.

Mounting/construction process
The whole EOC structure is modular and contains sub-modules in each part. Therefore it can be easily built due to the use of simple construction solutions. The modularity allows a parallel construction of its parts to increase the timing efficiency of its construction process: while the laterite walls are built through local exsiccation techniques the parts of structure elevation of the building can start to be mounted separately. The building has its main structure made of laterite walls and local wood frames and it is completed by wooden modular panels. It is designed to have a permanent part that include the walls, the floor, the perimetric elevations and the roof and a temporary one that can be disassembled and assembled easily in another place reusing all of its elements. The composition of the elevation structure is made of 3 types of knots to allow a fast dry assembly. The panel is made of sub-modules assembled with the knot type B. Each internal panel can rotate around a circular pillar through a metal hoop, easily mountable with a hooking system that allows its rotation of 360° through its moving component.


Project by: Svetoslava Svetoslavova, Mihail Karakolev.
from Bulgaria


The focus of our project lies on the design and construction of a simple semi- permanent, yet adaptable structure which is suitable for the needs of most areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. The main idea is to combine typical materials and traditional building techniques with diverse African elements. In order to achieve that, while reducing costs and building time, we designed a modular bamboo structure in which we later integrated a panel system, that allows the formation of various spaces and atmospheres. While working on our project we concluded that another priority of ours was not the creation of a certain sterile medical environment, but to achieve a light, calm and positive atmosphere even in times of emergency. As a result, the spatial organization was divided in two main parts - courtyard and main space. We took our inspiration from the Yoruba compounds in Nigeria, whose main space segments are under one continuous roof. The two courtyards became a significant element of the building- a socializing unit and a gathering space, where the main spaces for psychological assistance could be extended and the victims could feel safe and find peace and hope again, through communication among themselves. The building which evolves around the two courtyards is thought as a sequence, composed of four main spaces, each differing in length. We wanted to furthermore simplify the whole structure, so we decided to achieve our sequences by using only one single element and multiplying it, meaning- the room lengths could be adjustable. That’s why we designed our main module to be with three bamboo columns- each composed of four bamboo pillars, and a roof beam- made of four bamboos. To make the module resistant to wind forces, we used another four bamboos as diagonal elements. Although this material is known for its earthquake-resistant qualities, we decided to use heavy rammed earth walls around the building and to increase the elevation of the main spaces with 40 cm in order to protect them from heavy rains, floods and animals. Moreover, they are known for their thermal mass properties- they absorb heat during the day, which they radiate back at night. As a further step, we have also integrated a system of movable panels (each 2.6m high, 1.5m wide) in order to achieve adjustability. This flexible construction, with small light panels, also allows different spatial configurations and room sizes. It enables us to control the privacy level between the units and the relationship between the inside and the outside space. Each of these rooms can be transformed in case of a greater emergency or if there is a need to provide health care for more people. The model we purpose can gather up to 40 people (including the staff), of which 4 can be taken care of simultaneously at the first-aid rooms, 24 can stay at the rehabilitation rooms and 12 are staff people. Another important factor of the project design was to take advantage of and use natural ventilation, which prevents the proliferation of bacteria and viruses. The breathable and transparent materials used in the panels allow the heated air to escape quicker from the closed spaces. Our spatial organization is being inspired by the concept of fading. From the outside, the structure is surrounded by the rammed earth-wall and appears enclosed and protected at the same time. When entering the building, one would see that the heavy earth walls are replaced by light skeletal construction. In the areas where first-aid and health care take place, are placed bamboo panels, used as opaque barriers, making the rooms more private. In the hospital rooms, the bamboo Team ID: AVAOVARIA416 panels are used in combination with transparent textile panels, made of different fabrics, which allows control over the privacy of the rooms. Most of these panels could also be made by locals, using traditional techniques and fabrics depending on their location, which helps our idea furthermore and brings our project even closer, in a cultural level, to its users. One of the most important aspects of our project is that every single element used for the construction of our building can be made easily. It was crucial for our concept to design the building in such way, that the community could be part of the building process. While the men are building the main part of the structure from clay and bamboo pillars, the women and the children could assemble the bamboo panels in a fast and easy way. Even in times of crisis we wanted to keep the community united, so we thought - why not include them in the process of creating something for their better future- by taking part in the building process one could get and receive an enormous boost of trust and confidence in themselves and in the community as a whole.

Use of materials
For the project design are being used mainly local materials, so that the costs could be reduced, and the affordability and sustainability could be increased. We limited the use of concrete - only for the making of a foundation for the walls, whereas those are made of rammed earth. For further water protection, in the future, we propose clay plaster. The elevation between the courtyards and the main spaces is achieved by the floor-bearing construction- spruce wood beams. The skeletal construction- all columns, the two layers of beams- for the roof, the details of the panels, all are made of whole bamboo poles, whilst the flooring and the strips for the panels feature half round bamboos. The sizes that are being used are mainly 12, 6 and 4cm in diameter. In consideration of the natural ventilation, the first roof is made of a combination of textile elements, while the second roof, placed above, is formed of metal rib panels, providing mainly rain and sun protection. The material use for the panels varies from different bamboo and straw thatching techniques to the use of fabrics and materials, found at the site- like plastic bottles, cans, old clothes or branches.

Construction process
To optimize the building time, we used old and simple construction techniques and a design, which allows multiple different building processes to take place simultaneously. At first all columns (each column, made of 4 bamboo pillars) should be placed on a 3x3m grid. The installation of the floor-bearing wood beam construction follows that same grid and they should cross the pillars in the 12cm empty spaces between them. After that one group of workers can build the outside rammed earth walls, while another -could finish the main modules inside. For the main modules to be built and the main roof beam to be made, four bamboo pillars need to be tied together. After that, the roof beams must be arranged at a 3m distance and at a 3-degree angle, repeating every four bamboo pillars. After finishing the main modules, the top metal roof sheets should be fixed. While this whole building process takes place, the women and the children can make the bamboo panels, using local thatching techniques or old textiles and branches to fill the bamboo frames. Last but not least, the panels should be placed, in order to form the different rooms.


Project by: Claudia Gadea, Diego Catena Nieto, Jorge Abad Martínez, Marta Molins Laín.
from Spain



Emergencies are extreme experiences that push an entire society to the limit, even beyond. After such a hopeless tragedy, the main impulse of the human behaviour is to overcome, to fight back, to rise from the ashes. And, for that matter, we humans still keep much of our natural impulses and demeanours. Recalling the writings by Abbé Laugier, back in the 18th Century, “[Architecture’s] principles are founded on simple nature, and nature’s process clearly indicates its rules”. In such fashion, human natural trend would be to take shelter from the elements. Furthermore, the dominant force of nature in sub-Saharan Africa is the Sun, and to take cover from its wrath, definitely not a choice, but a must. Thus, it is frequent to find in this area that markets, social events, even classes take place under the shade of the trees. Shade, and everything it brings with, then, became one of the sources of inspiration. In addition, the Emergency Operations Center should be easy to construct, eager to keep afterwards; local-sustained, even though the resources could be really limited, and at the same time, enabled to be built anywhere. However, how to convey all of this? How to materialise all of it into a single building? As has already been mentioned, the main preoccupation should be to be able to provide shelter for the people in need of the Center –and of course to those working there. A shelter easy to build, in whatever place. The idea of a modulated space came then, for it would imply a lesser effort to be erected, simplifying the tasks ought to be performed. In spite of that, shape was still a riddle: the least wanted ending was to design a building oblivious to its surroundings. Therefore, an enquiry was done on the matter of traditional African patterns and shapes. Then, within the western African culture, the symbol Eban stood out. With the meaning of a fence –that is, love, security and protection– it comprised four squares inscribed in a larger one. In short, a module. On the other hand, that still left undone the configuration of the building. With the aim to keep coherence with the module concept, the final layout would encompass a square with 9 modules per side, meaning a total length of 22,50m. Since the main guideline of the design was the idea of shelter, it seemed perfectly appropriated to make the main area of the building a gathering place. In such way, three walled volumes enclose a large open space that continues all along the perimeter of the building, encircling it in the terms of a threshold. Those spaces are the ones in which the main activities of the Center are performed, whereas the open space is conceived not only as a waiting area, but also as a refuge, a calm place, a safe harbour. At both sides of the gathering area there are located the smallest volumes, 25m2 each, holding the storage and logistics and the management office. Besides those, the largest enclosed space fits the main assistance facilities: both assistance and monitoring units –50 and 75m2 each– and the delivery unit, also with 50m2. Moreover, given that all the structure and the arrangement of the spaces revolves around the very same notion, the module, versatility is a fact. Any disposition is possible, any distribution feasible. In the event of a possible extension, it could definitely not be more simple: it would just require to add as many pieces as wished. Once the unfortunate event that made the Center imperative in the first place is overcome, this same flexibility makes viable that the building is repurposed into a new facility: a nursery, a primary school or a expositions center are just some of the many options. Last, but not least, as has already been mentioned, this Center should be able to be built anywhere, anytime, at any reason. That is why the structure is so straightforward: a matrix of pillars that sustain a roofing structure, which in turn is repeated to conform a flooring settled over the ground. In this way, the roof protects the building from the sun and the rain, and the raised floor keeps the possible ground moisture away.

Keeping coherence with the mentioned ideals of easiness-to-build, local supply and versatility, only a few materials have been used in the Center. All of them, found with ease in the surroundings of virtually any area of Africa and, as it happens, the whole world. Nevertheless, the choice of these materials have been motivated for having a strong relation with Africa, for constituting symbols. Thus, the wood needed for the main structure will be chopped from baobab trees, whose wood is fairly tough and durable. Given that all the bars and beams –and so on– required are tiny in comparison with the huge extent of a baobab trunk, only a small amount of them will be required, trying at most not to overcut the already scarce population of baobabs. Likewise, the shade that will cover this structure will be provided by no other than fabric. Highly traditional, constituting an undeniable part of African culture, fabrics are for sure plentiful enough in the local area that might be in need of the Center. Finally, the waterproof element for the roofing that might need it, and for the walls, would be naturally the clay: damping the fabrics with it will ensure that clay fills all the tiny holes within them, keeping water and wind away.

The mounting process is simple and fast, due to its modular nature. The project consists of 81 identical modules which are joined with each other. This simple structure is made up of 5 cm squared section wooden bars of different lengths, depending on its function. The construction process begins with the pillars, which consist on 4 wooden bars separated 5 cm from each other, joined with small wooden blocks. This disposition allows to easily fix the horizontal bar to the pillars. In the lower and the upper side of the pillars, fixed to them, there are five Vierendeel beams equally separated, which form the plinth and the roof. Each of them are made up of two bars that work as supporting frames, and five as vertical webs. The wooden bars are also used for the floor, one next to another, creating a continuous surface, and for the footing, with small bars diagonally placed in each pillar. All the joins between the different wooden bars are solved in a simple way, the unions are done with screws and nails in the faces of the bars, avoiding complex joints. The fabric of the roof and the vertical divisions to the wood bars is also fixed with nails.


Project by: Verena Leung, Tin Wai Ma, Cheuk Ying Sharon So.
from China


A. Design idea
The Emergency Operation Centre is realized as a space for foreign staff to provide humanitarian aid to disaster refugees in the Sub-Sahara Region as post disaster relief. The EOC is designed to be highly adaptable and modular in order to be applicable to the vast area in the Sub-Sahara Region where climate, resources production and disaster nature may differ from one to another. Thus, a construction system with alterable material set is proposed to cater the different geographic constraints. ‘Built within the moaning of the survivors, the humanitarian aid came in the chaotic site with an intention to make peace.’ From an aerial perspective, the Emergency Operation Centre carries a signature knot shape which is inspired by Mpatapo, is an Atinkra symbol. Originated from Ghana, the ‘knotting’ shape symbolizes ‘peacemaking’ that could be traced back in the Adinkra Symbol Catalogue over two centuries ago. The EOC is projected as a mediator between the foreign staff and refugees. The spatial configuration clearly defines by the weaved circulations around the three volumes which are arranged in an L-shape with a courtyard lies within the Void of the L-shape. The private and public circulation loop knot at the boundary of the back office and assistance space. The corner mass is where the back office and meeting space is located. The intimate space within it allows discussions to be carried out effectively for efficient flow of information within the management team. The most private space is located within the core walls. Essential storage space and toilets are enclosed within the core walls at the peripheral of the side wings. They act as structural members and also function as utility space to support the operation of the ECO. The side wings and the shared courtyard in between are serviced space where staff carries out humanitarian aids like medical procedures, conducting counseling sessions, promoting awareness on personal hygiene etc. An open plan with movable bamboo weaved partitions are adopted to enhance the flexibility for various activities to take place. The courtyard provide flexible space for different outdoor activities for the refugee to socialize. Tent is made to be stretched out if more shaded area is needed to temporary programs like talks or screening events which requires more shaded space for audience. As the reconstruction of the disaster goes on, the significance of the EOC shifts from providing assistance into providing a space for gathering or community events. The building mass could be made to disassemble the partitions and retaining the core walls and columns for other programs to be engineered within the space. A possibility of altering it into a school, a clinic, an orphanage in the future illustrates the EOC is adaptable that it could be blended back into the community to serve.
B. Use of materials
All selected materials are readily available in the Sub-Sahara Region. It is a low-cost production that requires basic fabricating skills which local man power can be involved to assemble the building. Monopitched Roof -iron sheets wood board + thatch -purlin -timber/bamboo rafters* -timber beams -bolted connection -steel column shoe -timber eaves(Fixing Gutter) -bamboo gutter Partitions -bamboo weave Core Element -rammed earth/reinforced concrete* Raised Platform -reinforced concrete Tent -Traditional African Fabric/Nylon*
*Alternative options of material are proposed as to suit regional production.

C. Mounting/construction process
The construction time is estimated to be short as it requires low tech building method without the use of machinery. All building parts can be made or molded in the site. There are three stages of construction, from permanent, to semi-permanent and temporary structure.
Permanent Structure
The structural members including wooden columns, reinforced concrete slab and rammed earth core walls will first be made in site to lay the foundation and skeletal structure of the building. The roof wooden structure is assembled afterwards and covered by thatch with corrugated metal sheet to provide shading to interior programs.
Semi-Permanent Structure
Bamboo façade is further wrapped around the façade facing the circulation and courtyard space to increase porosity. Temporary Structure
Traditional African fabric tent can be mount to temporary wooden sticks in the courtyard according to different activities to be held in the EOC. Partition walls can be arranged freely within the open plan of the interior assistance space.


Project by: Enrico Vidulich, Milisav Stankovic, Matteo Ros.
from Italy


An emergency is something unexpected, therefore response time is crucially important if we want to respond properly. Few days can have a huge impact in handling the situation, both in a negative or positive way. For this reason, the project itself acts as a support for the NGOs who will be fighting in the front lines against the emergency. It matches with the situation’s timing and it develops following the evolution of the ongoing disaster. In order to do so, priority is given to the construction speed and consequently on its modular form. This will allow to replicate the project in various scales in relation the dimensions of the disaster and on the numbers of people involved. The project started with the concept of “boxes in the box”. The first “box” (a parallelepiped) was modified by subtracting some parts of its sides and by moving it towards the inland, creating the entrances as a result. Then using the structural grid, the inner “boxes” were placed keeping in mind their function and distinguishing the permanent parts from the temporary ones. When the temporary boxes would be demolished there would be two new public squares separated by an internal court. This would guarantee new social space at the end of the disaster. The “boxes” inside the enclosure are covered by a huge concave canopy. They are built respecting the structural grid with different technologies and materials based on the temporariness of their functions. The main structure, made of wooden pillars and beams stuck among each other, acts, also, as the element on which temporary “boxes”, which are also built with wooden parts, can be easily build up together. This will create modular and easily interchangeable spaces. The openings in the permanent elements will be the wooden doors and the holes in the opposite walls, created by the subtraction of some elements in the pattern that were created by the clay brick wall. This would guarantee a natural transversal ventilation system. On the other side, the temporary “boxes” wouldn’t have doors but simple holes instead. The windows would be placed on the other side of the room and they would be created by distancing between the wooden boards of the wall. The coverage of the permanent parts of the structure would be made by wooden boards. On the other hand, the roof of the temporary spaces would be built putting a fabric over the beam, creating a semi-transparent coverage. The main roof, projected above all the elements, would be built with metal sheets, in order to guarantee waterproofing. The distance between the two types of coverage would guarantee a natural ventilation within the boxes. The chosen materials are mainly four: concrete, clay bricks, wood and bamboo sticks. The wood would be used for the main structure of the external “box”. The bricks would be used to build the permanent elements, which will become medical centres, conference and managing rooms. The temporary boxes would also be made of wood and they would be functioning as recovery and monitoring rooms for patients. The perimeter would be enclosed by panels made of bamboo sticks. They would be movable and removable in order to adapt to the situation. They would be also able to protect from the solar rays. Finally, concrete would be used for the foundations. The constructional techniques that would be used for the realization of the building are various. Concrete would be cast in tires to build the foundation of the wooden pillars. Each pillar is composed by four smaller wooden pillars placed side by side. Concrete would also be used to create the basement for brick walls that would be used for permanents pavilions. Then, it would be found a flyover dais, made by wooden boards, supported by a grid of wooden beams that connects all the wooden pillars. On the dais, there would be built the temporary pavilions, supported directly by the pillars with which they would be embed. The entire complex would be protected by a metal sheet madden coverage. The sides would be buffered by panels made of bamboo sticks that would protect the inner places from the sunlight.


Project by: Enrico Tossici, Vincenzo Fazio.
from Italy


The number of disasters reported in Africa has increased significantly since the 1970s. Over the last four decades, Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced more than one thousand disasters. Disasters are a major threat to development, putting at risk many recent gains. These events, which will likely increase in frequency and magnitude, are closely linked to the vulnerability of its population and economy and their often-low capacities to cope with natural hazards. An emergency suddenly catches and destroys dreams and hopes. Immediately after all dramatic events, resilience and the awareness play a fundamental role. The crisis must be dealt promptly with coordination, sensitivity and consciousness. Rebuild security and normality is a priority to overcome the emergency status. On these assumptions this project was born to try to build a safe place and our goal is to create it with simple supply, available in the place where it will be built. It will change its appearance adapting to the context in which it is located. This project is meant to build up something simple to realize in which all the local communities can contribute. We believe that the cooperation on manual work will improve the cohesion and loyalty between people, and it will intensify the desire to stand up and keep on going. The project is focused on simplicity and reproducibility. We started by designing an elemental unit, a square of side 7.5 m, composed of a pedestal, a structural set, vertical partitions and a covering. Each unit, is conceived to provide both an enclosed space for specific activities and a covered outer space, for distribution. The structural layout consists of a wooden portal, which is repeated identically in the whole construction with a span of 1,2 meters. Units can be put side by side, unlimited times, to create buildings of several dimensions and shapes. To avoid the repetition of the pillars, in each unit the structural grid is shifted by 0.6 m, the half of a span. One of the many possible configurations is being represented. According to the requests, we considered an ideal lot, empty and plain, where we set an architectural model that can be used in various kinds of emergencies. We arranged four volumes (composed of two or three modules) around a courtyard, in which there is a basin for water collection. The complex provides three main areas: management and organization of the emergency, logistics and storage room, assistance, reception and monitoring. The management and logistic areas, realised exclusively by dry assembly, are conceived as temporary structures, that can be dismantled and put back together with little effort, while the assistance area has a semi-permanent structure, that can be converted into something useful for reconstruction when the emergency is over. The management sector is organized with an office room for the staff, a meeting room that can also be used as a canteen for the community and toilets. Logistics zone consists of a large storage room, flanked by toilets and an office for sorting operations. The assistance area, which covers more than half of the built surface, is split in two units for medical or psychological practice, while the remaining space can be used both for dormitory and recovery bedrooms. Meeting room and office’s walls are made by light wooden panels, allowing the entrance of sunlight and covered by curtains made of typical African fabrics, recognizable by colourful texture, which are usually employed both for clothing and drapery. The restrooms and the storage room, due to privacy and security demand, are closed by thick wooden walls. In the assistance buildings, which must guarantee an higher level of heating comfort, most of the walls are made of an earthbag structure, cladded with a mixture of laterite, to ensure thermal insulation and the dampening effect. These constructions are also supposed to be reconverted in service facilities for the community, once the emergency is over. Coverings, identical in the whole complex, are made of iron corrugated sheets, raised above the walls, to enable a cooling effect due to air flux.

We decided to refer to the most common materials that can be found in the sub-Saharan region. Regarding the timber, we used palm wood, due to its high resistance and good flexibility. In the base, we employed laterite, both for the inner layers and the flooring, river gravel for drainage and shells used as inert in the banquette. The super adobe technique involves plastic bags filled with river sand and laterite for the finishing. Coverings are made of corrugated iron panels, an industrial product that can be however easily find in the considered region. The most iconic material is colourful fabrics, the only aesthetic device we decided to use, both for its easy availability and for the strong character of identity.

The building, due to the seriality of the structural system and the uniformity of timber elements, is designed to ease self-construction. The first step, the base, consists of overlapping layers: a bed of rammed earth, draining gravel, a second layer of rammed earth, a timber grid (that hosts the attachment of the pillars in the crossings) surrounded by a banquette made of a conglomerate of shells and, on the top, a flooring in laterite. The second step is the timber structure, in which pillars and beams are composed by three layers of elements with a fixed rectangular section (3x9 cm) and a variable length. Each portal is connected to the next with four joists and above them a lighter secondary structure supports the iron sheets cover. The last step is the realization of vertical closures: for the temporary buildings we set three types of infill that fit the span between two consecutive pillars (a frame with oblique slats, a system of horizontal brise soleil and a thick series of boards). Regarding the permanent structure, walls are made using the super adobe technique, by filling plastic bags with sand, laying them in overlapping rows and covering them with earth.


Project by: Fida Sassi, Fedi Hizem, Ali Ammar, Chiraz Frih, Cyrine Zouari.
from Tunisia


Design idea
Emergency Architecture has become a major sector of humanitarian intervention, as the growing populations affected by conflicts and natural disasters call for intensification of efforts to bring relief and shelter. This urge for solidarity opens up alternative avenues for the exercise of architecture. Refugee camps are now the embodiment of what might be called the "temporary that lasts." Indeed, these places are being set up in emergency situations but are becoming more and more established over time. For a long time, those interventions designed in the context of Emergency have been dealing with a multiplicity of key issues, all of which gradually defined the role of the architect in such contexts: a sense of commitment, the necessity to foster social empowerment, the development of building skills within the communities while preserving hygiene and safety standards, the concern for well-being, dignity, and intimacy that every individual is entitled to expect from his home, temporary or not. Far from confiscating autonomy, and from inducing dehumanization through stereotypes, architecture is more of a free, wild intervention, which dives into real life, creative and fully human, where the functions of architect, mason and inhabitant must blend into each other. As a result, this project relies on versatility and modularity, at low cost of implementation, in a participatory approach. The project is designed to deal with several types of humanitarian or climate emergencies: floods or droughts, assistance to refugees or migrants. Using the same core structure, the building can be either achieved in a temporary version or in a durable sustainable version, thanks to its filling modules, that allow to opt for a temporary or permanent material. The simplicity of the assembly of the building allows speedy implementation and the involvement of users in the construction process as well. During emergency crises, panic is a key parameter that can affect crisis management. A circulation and filtration scenario is therefore needed here, to adapt the architecture to the needs of refugees and workers from the organizations. A main reception and waiting hall, equipped with two counters that provide the distribution of medicines and food mark the main care unit that houses the medical offices, the health care and the psychological care rooms. On both sides, the storage unit and the management unit which houses the space dedicated to associations and field staff, are attached to this unit. The project is fragmented, given the complexity of emergency management. The outdoor space has two rainwater recovery basins. It is also surrounded by an arc fence that serves as a wind breeze. The building is likely to be placed in any region of sub-Saharan Africa, but taking into account the orientation: the arc will allow to break the wind and the modules covered with reed / reed filled partition will be placed according to the quantity of sunshine and desired light

Use of materials
Plastic barrels, wooden stilts, recycled wood planks/floor, salvaged wooden poles, locally made reed carpet roofs, reeds, hay (or straw), coated with raw earth, Bamboo.

Mounting/construction process
Let's start with the ground, stilts will be installed as a fixed base that will support the building. A set of plastic barrels will be placed on the ground, between these elements, and attached to a recycled wooden slab. This will allow the building to float and to be protected it in the event of a flooding. Four metal guide posts installed in each corner will provide additional stability. The partitions are composed of a wooden module that will be reproduced to form the boundaries of each space. Depending on its location, the module will be filled either with hay covered by a coating of raw earth, or by reeds (in the case of openings and for the supply of light). The top of the walls below the roof will be made of spaced bamboo sticks, to ensure ventilation and lighting of the interior. The structural frame of the bamboo roof will support as a cover a layer of burlap for more waterproofing, on the top will be a carpet of reeds.


Project by: Maxime Deplasse.
from Belgium


Final destination of the humanitarian aid, the EOC « Tambidúlaa ». Welcoming the precious load on a modest deck, laying above the ground. Kept away from the dirt, the mud and the flood, in the protective shadow of a thin roof suspended in the landscape, the load can now be shared with the disaster victims. Main common thread of this EOC, the will to offer a generous space for the families to stay close to their relatives. In the distressed context of a recent disaster, the greatest importance has been given in this project to not cutting the link uniting families. The support that comes from families and friends, in such moments and even more in the specific cultural context of Sub-Saharian Africa, is indeed the most comforting thing that can be brought to disaster victims. In order to do so, the project, on its whole lenght create a generous corridor, a « Tambidúlaa », a place of passage in Mandingo language. In this particular place, people are warmly invited to appropriate the space, to stay close to their relatives and friends in the need of medical or psychological assistance, conforting each other, or sharing information, pieces of advise and support with NGO staff in order to go trough these difficults moments together. By the means of light walls exclusively composed of rotating panels, this corridor is the one and only way to enter the enclosed spaces of the project. Bordering both sides of this wide corridor, the different spaces of the program are organized according to a linear logic following the course of humanitarian aid, from the NGO dedicated spaces, where the supplies are unload, sorted and stored, to the multi-purpose and assistance spaces, where supplies is distributed to disaster victims. This program takes place in four wide divisible spaces, two dedicated for NGO staff – in which take place office rooms, meeting rooms and logistic area – and two bigger spaces for reception, assistance and monitoring of the victims. The splitting of the assistance area in two half allows, for instance, the distinction between spaces dedicated to men / women, or contagious patients / uncontaminated patients, depending the context in which the EOC takes place. The EOC’s structure and plan has been tought to be as simple as possible. The regular rhythm of its structure and the possibilities of partitions that it offers will allow the NGO staff to easily appropriate the spaces, while the simplicity of the architectural language put in place will create a comforting feeling of calm and steadiness in each user of the building.

Materials / constructive principle
Two different kind of materials compose this EOC. The first one, heavy local materials such as rock and earth have been chosen to create a steady envelope around the project. The earth walls, made of plastic bags filled with local earth and reinforced by an internal wooden structure anchored in the rock foundation has the advantage to be easily buildable by anyone. Thus a large part of the population can participate in its construction, speeding up the work. Cage box filled with rocks at the bottom of the earthen wall has the same constructive advantage, while allowing the wall to remain unaltered in case of flooding. This rock foundation also allow the air to circulate avoiding overheating of the void under the floor of the project. In order to be able to reuse the largest part of the components of the project, the second kind of materials have been chosen for its light weight and the assembly possibilities they offer. Only three materials – bamboo, corrugated metal sheet and white wood - assembled in reusable prefabricated pieces constitute the structure, the flooring, the roofing and the internal partitions of the whole project. To allow the use of prefabricated pieces of roofing and flooring, the bamboo assemblies composing the structure follow a regular pattern over the entire project. Thanks to this regular pattern, the floor can be made of self-supporting prefabricated wooden panels. These 230x450 cm flooring panels are made of an assembly of a bamboo framework covered with white wood flooring, and are simply laid down on the rock foundation in between the structure of the roofing. In the same way, the roof is made of prefabricated panels over its entire surface. These 250x580 cm roofing panels are made of an assembly of a bamboo framework between a double layer of corrugated metal sheet. This double layer of metal sheet allows the panel to be much more insulating by creating a ventilated air vacuum in between. All of these parts are easily removable and reusable as is, for the construction of another EOC. At the end of the EOC’s life only the earth walls will remain, which will become the hosts of a new life starting over. While the prefabricated parts will be transported in another context, to help more communities facing a disaster.


Project by: Junior da Mata, Angelina Menesses, Pablo de Oliveira, Gustavo Melo.
from Brazil


Africa is not a country!
Far beyond a political division of federative units, Africa is made up of people who express their individuality in the way they inhabit, relate, produce and reproduce. People who build daily the resistance to survive in the face of constant natural weather, armed conflicts, cultural impositions, proliferation of diseases and shortages of basic supplies. To understand this Africa is to reveal the historical and cultural layers that exist in several countries. It is to recognize the forms of resistance that these people have carried in their bodies and transmitted for generations. But it is also understanding that in difficult moments, unity is the greatest power of transformation. Thus, the main delimiter of the project concept is popular engagement. The reconstruction of meanings for life and the re-establishment of a social identity are in the look to the other and the sharing of knowledge. For this reason, the project is directed to emergencies according to its main function (peace, health, natural disasters) by means of a module. From simple constructive techniques it is possible to replicate the module with popular engagement. The concept seeks to present flexibility to the numerous emergencies, while expressing the knowledge of ancestry. In this way, the constructive module is adaptable, and its architecture is communal within a concept of metabolic growth that inspires people and transforms the space of the emergency. Architecture leads to peace, but also propagates peace in its territory, transforming people's lives with the light of meanings. To respond to the three basic functions of the Emergency Operations Center (emergency management and organization; assistance, reception and monitoring; warehouse and logistics), this module was designed in 4 blocks, connecting perpendicularly to each other in its central point. The articulation between the built modules, arranged in a windmill format, allows to create in this centrality a square that constitutes a space for crisis management, promoting community meetings, various services and logistics for distribution of supplies. Besides being a starting point for the replication of the modules, the courtyard allows it to be a space for logistics, welcoming, meeting, cultural events, popular engagement, food cultivation, wastewater treatment by root zone, or simply a place of peace, introspection and meditation. Thinking about unpredictability, the modules are composed of two layers: a tubular nucleus made up of planes articulated between them and the flexible/articulated exoskeleton made up of bamboo culms covered with eco-recycled canvas. Thus, there is an air zone between the two layers, and from a drip water system on the canvas, an evaporative cooling system of low cost is obtained for thermal comfort. There is a channel along the inner perimeter of the blocks, so that in flood situations there is a diversion of water towards the central patio. In addition, the wooden floor of the central nucleus is seated on a sequence of reused plastic drums allowing the modules to float in critical situations. The drums will also be used for the storage of drinking water for routine operations and for the evaporative drip system in dry climates. In situations of strong winds, the pyramidal shape of the outer layer prevents perpendicular forces on the façade, directing the flows of air around the inner nucleus and dissipating the impacts of these storms. There is a channel along the inner perimeter of the blocks, so that in situations of flooding there is the deviation of water towards the central patio. In addition, the wooden floor of the central nucleus is seated on a sequence of reused plastic drums allowing the modules to float in critical situations. The drums will also be used for the storage of drinking water for routine operations and for the evaporative drip system in dry climates. In general, the concept takes up the form of implanting villages in flooded lands, which are implanted and connected by wooden floor walkways foreseeing the unpredictability of the channel, without affecting the construction. Also, coming from a traditional technique, the muxarabi, incorporated to the project, allows cross ventilation inside the central core, contributing to thermal comfort. Finally, the aim of the project is to develop a semi-permanent solution emphasizing self-construction. Likewise, the Emergency Center will promote social interactions and re-signified for the welcoming community, turning a temporary space into a permanent one and becoming a new opportunity for these people to start again.

Use of materials
We bring in our bodies and thoughts the aphrodiasporic space trajectories that forge our social identity. Whether in art, music or other manifestations, Brazilian culture is also African. In the architectural experiences, we identify these approaches from the vernacular constructive techniques by which they can be identified in the remaining “Quilombos”, such as in the use of adobe, “taipa” (rammed earth), roofing in straw and bamboo, among others. The symbiosis between these materials allows the harmonization of some critical project constraints, such as diverse climatic aspects, execution time and limited economic resources. We seek to rescue these millenary techniques from mixtures of clay and vegetable fibers in fences and roofs. These materials and their arrangement allow the creation of a favorable microclimate in buildings, with low environmental impact and at an affordable cost. The heat accumulated during the day is transferred at night and the night cooling softens the internal heat throughout the day. At the bottom of the modules, metal drums are used to store rainwater and/or as buoys to raise the building in case of flooding.

Assembly/construction process
The emergency unpredictability added to the territorial diversity, in a vast region like sub-Saharan Africa, forces us to think about the use of locally available and re-signified materials. The construction technique used makes use of the knowledge of master craftsmen, allowing a community and participatory dimension for the rapid assembly and disassembly or even transfer of the modules to other sites. The project is composed of 4 modules of 4 x 28 m2. Each one has two building wings (4 x 12 m2) and a central space of 4 x 4 m2. These wings are interchangeable and adaptable to the functions required for crisis management. Some possibilities of these adaptations are shown. The floor and roof of the module’s nucleus are in adobe mixtures and has a primary function of connecting the wings. Articulated in a radial way, the 4 modules create an internal patio, as a great central square for cultural expressions, community care and democratic decisions. The building layers are composed of bamboo structures covered with vegetable fibers for temporary situations, allowing the incorporation of coating with compacted soil layers and soil paint, for permanent ones.


Project by: Kun Yan, Jiao Shi.
from China


Design Idea
1. Rainbow Tribe Concept
The Rainbow Tribe concept comes from the hope under the Rainbow. Rainbow, is a beautiful thing from nature, it appears after the rain, and the blue sky and white clouds at the same time. This emergency operation centre aims to give refugees hope, especially after a disaster or misfortune. The rainbow tribe is like a family, bringing people warmth and help, letting people find hope for life and smile again. The rainbow is also a metaphor that refugees representing different cultures and faiths can find harmony here. Rainbow Tribe has no fight no discrimination, all people are equal to live here.
2. Logo Concept
The rainbow combines with the shape of a smiley face. And the logo uses three colours, red, green and blue, which merge to create a pure white, the colour of the roof. 3. Architectural Form From the rainbow, the top of the hanging arc waterproof canvas not only like the rainbow but also like the hanging smiling face. The roof colour is white because all the colours of the rainbow blend to form a white symbol of purity. It also implies a fusion of different faiths.
4. Layout
The plan arranged according to the fixed module, which is convenient for function division and use. The elevated ground insulates moisture. The design of the verandah provides more space for rest and communication. Rainbow tribe is a communication space without distance. All partitions, including folding panels and hanging curtains, are light and transparent and can be removed at any time. The interior of the building removed so that small spaces can be combined into one larger space. This method not only allows people to see the natural scenery outside but also increases the indoor air circulation. During the day, the building remains part of the folding panels, presenting a transparent space that welcomes the arrival of refugees. At night, folding panels added to create enclosed Spaces that protect the privacy and safety of the people in the tribe.
5. Materials
All the materials are cheap and easy to process, so people can collect the materials themselves and build them. The building mainly uses local trees, twine and bamboo, which are readily available and easy to make without additional advanced equipment. People can hang their decorations on the buildings according to their preferences to increase their sense of belonging.
6. Function
The building divided into two areas, common assistance and special assistance. There are reception desks in different areas where people can consult on demand. General aid involves medical care and reception. Refugees first reach this area and receive support, such as food and medical care. A special assistance area is an area for long stays and assistance depending on the situation of the refugees. During the day, this area offers sickrooms, counselling and career counselling. At night, depending on the number of refugees, this area can become a temporary shelter. Theses two areas separated by folded panels, which not only ensure the two areas are free from interference, but also guarantee the privacy and safety of people in the special rescue area. Part of the interior of the building is reserved to form an internal courtyard space, providing a separate outdoor space for insecure refugees, where people can communicate and get in touch with nature. Logistics and storage areas are enclosed by buildings, ensuring the safety of relief supplies.
7. Ventilation
Due to its location in the African region, the overall elevation of the building is 0.45m, ensuring ventilation and avoiding indoor humidity during the rainy season. The height of the folding panels inside the building is 2.5m. There is no barrier between the folding panels and the roof, which maximizes the natural ventilation.
8. Flexibility
The building adopts 3x3m module, each material has its module, which is easy to make and disassemble. According to the rescue demand, the building area can be adjusted flexibly. Also can be a large area of the rescue centre, quickly dismantled into two small rescue centre. This structure makes it easy to replace broken builds without affecting usage. The building can also be separate into several different parts for a smooth relocation to other areas.
9. Folded Panels
The main structure of the building is an ample transparent space, which can be divided into different sizes by movable folded panels according to the actual needs. Folding plate adopts fourfold mode, divided into frame and shielding part. The frame can made of wood or bamboo. shielding part can be designed according to your preference, such as hemp rope, curtains, coloured cloth or bamboo.
10. Hygiene
The whole building adopts a structure that is easy to disassemble, ensuring that each part of the building is easy to clean. Washrooms and bathrooms are set away from the entire building, with separate settings for men and women, ensuring privacy and hygiene. The elevated floor and space above the folding panels also ensure fresh air circulation. 11. Subsequent Use The entire building can be moved in whole or in part to other areas depending on demand. This building can be used for a long time. Due to its continuous plan and flexible combination, it can transform into a school, activity centre or residence in subsequent use. 12. Lighting Design During the day, the roof uses a waterproof canvas that allows light to pass through, keeping the interior light, and the courtyard space inside the building also allows sunlight to enter. At night, along with the building's form, solar led light strips are arranged, changing into a hanging rainbow shape that becomes a unique landmark.

1. Foundation:
2. Supporting Structure:
3. Top of the structure:
4. Folded Panel:
Cement 32.5
Laterite Earth
White Wood
Metal Screw Blot
Waterproof Canvas
Steel Wire(5mm)
a. Frame: White Wood
Bamboo Vulgaris
b. Shielding Part: Hemp Rope
Coloured Cloth
Bamboo Vulgaris
Construction process
One Unit, Building Part, Prepare the Material, Laterite Earth, 4 x Timber Pillar (4.3x0.1x0.1m), 14 x Timber Pillar (3.1x0.1x0.1m), 8 x Timber Pillar (2.9x0.1x0.1m), 1 x Timber Panel (3.3x2.7x0.05m), Steel Wire (5mm), Metal Screw Blot, Waterproof Canvas

Construction Process - Make Columns
1. The groove of 0.4x0.4x0.5m made with laterite earth. 2. Combine one timber pillar (4.3x0.1x0.1m) and four timber pillars (2.9x 0.1x0.1m) at the bottom to form a cross, then pass through four timber pillars (2.9x 0.1x0.1m) with the metal screw blot, and fix them with the central timber pillar (4.3x0.1x0.1m). 3. Four building foundations: Pour the cement into the prepared tank, then fix the ready column in the cement, air dry and take it out of the container. 4. Place the four columns at square intervals of 3m. Then, the cement part of the foundation buried into the ground 0.3m, and the cement block is 0.2m above the ground. Then, the foundation fixed with laterite earth.
Make the Floor
5.Make the first layer of structural support. Four timber pillars (2.9x 0.1 x 0.1m) placed horizontally in the groove of the cross Pillar, and then the four horizontal timber pillars and the cross pillar were fixed by metal screw blot. 6. Make the second layer structural support. Place the 14 equal spaced timber pillar (3.1 x 0.1 x 0.1m) horizontally on the first layer structural support and then fix it. Then place the Timber Panel. Top of the Structure 7. Enhance structural stability. Four Timber pillars (2.9 x 0.1 x 0.1m) are placed horizontally in order at the top of the four short pillars of the cross and then fixed by metal screw blot. 8. The steel wire fixed on the longest cross pillars, then placed waterproof canvas, fixed with steel wire. Complete a unit. And then we can increase the number of units we want.
Note: the cross column shared between the units.
Prepare the Material
8 x 2.5m Bamboo 8 x 0.5m Bamboo Hemp Rope, Curtains, Coloured Cloth, Bamboo Vulgaris
Construction Process
1. Make four frames of the same size. Each frame consists of two 2.5 m and two 0.5 m bamboo, which then fixed into a rectangle with hemp rope. 2. The four frames are secured between them with twine, ensuring that they can fold. 3. Use Coloured cloth, hemp rope, or bamboo for shelter, and tie or fasten in four frames. 4. The finished folding board, one side of which fixed on the cross column with hemp rope, can become a wall that can be expanded and folded.
Parts can replace at any time according to the damage.


Project by: Ahmed Ibrahim.
from Egypt


Design idea ..
What we know about disasters, whether they are natural or human-made, is that they are sudden, varied and occur continuously. As human beings, we do not have better responses than resistance and adaptation to reduce their impacts and so should be our spaces. Hence, the main aim of the project is to provide a resistant and dynamic building capable of adapt to different situations in different circumstances depending on four main pillars: adjustability, portability, expandability and transformability. The interiors are designed to adjust the space to any required changes. Similarly, the structure system and the facade elements are selected to enhance the building’s ability to be deconstructed and reconstructed again. Likewise, the modular system allows the building to expand when necessary in the future on three sides. Finally, the space flexibility provides the possibility of changing the space activity in the long term to a community centre, small school or others. In short, the design intends to create a resilient building that adapts to more than one disaster and a sustainable building that benefits more than one community over time.
Use of materials ..
The choice of the materials relied mainly on two criteria, the first is the availability in local markets, and the second is the ability to be deconstructed and reconstructed again. Therefore, iron pipes were chosen to construct the structure system; including the foundation, pillars, beams and interior's hanging parts. Similarly, modular units made from cane and metal sheets used to cover the facade, which allows the flexibility of removing and reinstalling each unit separately. Likewise, modular units made from cane and fabrics selected to provide adaptable interior spaces. The floor and roof are following the same criteria by using white wood and metal sheets, respectively. Iron fittings are used to set up the pipes together, and bolts are used to mount all other materials together and with pipes as well.

Construction process ..
The project depends on minimizing construction time as possible. This is by developing a construction process within ten days. The first couple of days will focus on preparing the ground and provide the necessary materials for construction. The structural system will then be set up and installed in the next two days. The fifth day will include the installation of the floor and rainwater gutters as well as building the rainwater tank. Subsequently, the facade's modular units will be installed and mounted together for the next three days, followed by the installation of the roof sheets. Finally, the tenth day will see the installation of interior partitions, including pipes, canes and curtains. The construction process could be reversed after the building is no longer needed. It will take an additional one week to deconstruct the building. Then, the materials could be transferred to another area in need.


Project by: Arianna Radice, Gabriele Siani.
from Italy


Calamities such as war, starvation, poverty or for the example Covid pandemic, struck unexpectedly in every part of the world. People involved in these situations experience fear, bewilderment and certainly vulnerability. For this reason, the project we propose is inspired by a structure that can evoke a protective and welcoming environment, with the aim of providing a landmark to support defenseless people. The very arrangement of the elements evokes an embrace, an invitation to cross the threshold to be welcomed, safeguarded and protected. The concept is to have structures that can be assembled and disassembled in a short time, using local materials, possibly recovered and recyclable, thus limiting costs. The overall image is composed by six similar geodetic structures (depending on the needs, it can be increased or decreased thanks to the concept of modularity). Each structure has its specific function, organized in internal spaces. Given the similarity of the shapes, the structure dedicated to the reception has a different entrance, clearly indicating how to access the camp.

The materials used for this project were chosen for their sustainability, renewability and local availability. For the structures we thought of bamboo reeds, a very resistant and easily processable material, sizable according to the needs. The rods are held together through joints that can be made of metal and screws, easily assembled together. The roofs are made out of recycled sheets with an additional protection made of straw, designed to recall the typical constructions of the place chosen for this project. The structure will also have a perimeter support base made of raw earth. The soil inside the structure will be, as far as possible, covered with sheets, carpets, wood (made by suitable and recycled material), in order to have a fast and optimal coverage. At last the domes and furniture will be made in self-construction or with recycled materials.

For the construction of the structures we have used the geodetic dome model. Although it is an easily and fast assembled and lightweight structure, this has excellent strength and stability considering the relative scarcity of material to be used. For these structures, therefore, we thought of an assembly through fittings (round and rectangular plates joined by screws) that allows joining the rods in order to support the whole structure. The construction is modular and envisages the realization of geometrical figures joined together by the connections mentioned above. As already said, each dome is fast and easy to build and it will take few people and couple of days maximum.


Project by: Christoph Geiger.
from Germany


Design idea
The base idea of the design is to create an architecture which basic structure and the roofing can be erected very quick and then the building can be gradually changed depending on the needs in the development of the crisis. The design is not developed for one special disaster, but focuses on local refugee camps in areas around the African equator. It takes specially in account the possibility of transforming refugee camps that become a more long term settlements and may even grow into towns. As an example for this kind of camps can be mentioned the Bidi Bidi settlement in northern Uganda, which served as a inspiration. The camp was created by refugees fleeing the civil war in Sudan. Since many of them can not or do not want to go back to South Sudan and the government of Uganda is welcoming them to stay, over time the camp was transformed into by the inhabitants. Many of them started using their knowledge of traditional construction methods to replace their homes in tents, originally provided by the UNHCR, NGO’s or other authorities, and started building huts with the materials found in the area. After the first most urgent emergency response it is part of the design idea to possibly use these skills and the knowledge to further develop the building with the aid of the local residents. One other important part of the design is a strong commitment towards low-tech solutions. Because for the helpers it is always difficult estimate the aid for a certain crisis, the building is supposed to work with as little technological aid from the outside as possible. By design the building is therefore quite wind permeable to exchange the heated air in the inside and has a roof with a wide overhang which is capable of protecting the users and the structure from heat of the sun as well as from heavy rainfall. The design is strongly committed to sustainability by use organic materials, structural optimization and time wise flexibility than by high-tech solutions.

Use of materials and construction process
The construction method can be basically divided into two phases. The first phase contains a basic roof construction with materials brought to the site. This includes some steel joints, cement for casting concrete, rolls of polyethylene fabric and mainly and most important elements of four by four meters of a diamond shaped lattice of wooden slats. These elements can be folded into very small dimension and by that easily transported. Then on the side they are unfolded and connected to a larger grid, which must be outlined also by wooden slats. This wooden grid can then be pushed at different points and will arise to a shell like structure. The grid elements could be connected to several forms and by that several different shells would result. For this design a quite simple rectangular base shape was chosen. Then this shell is connected to few steel joints which where before placed in concrete at specified points. After this the erected shell is covered with the fabric and a wide spanning roof is finished. Under this roof protected by sun and rain the second phase can be carried out, using local materials. A secondary structure for the interior is made. Since it is not bearing the load of the roof there is no need for high quality material. It can be made from quite thin wood or bamboo, that is found in the area. The walls of the secondary structure can either be made very fast of planes like the roofing and form a tent or directly by wood wicker. In this stage the building can be already functioning. If the need for the building is more long therm and if maybe the community can be motivated helping with their skills the tent plane is replaced and the wood wicker can be covered with clay. On the polyethylene plane there can be added a thatched roof. The structure thereby changes from a tent like structure into a more resilient building. In the progress of use the floor plan can be adapted easily, since nothing of the interior structure is load bearing. Also after the end of the critical phase of a refugee crisis, but if the community remains, the building can be transformed strongly and reused. Even by removing the whole substructure and using it as one big space, for example as a community hall or a sacral building. But in case there is no need for the building after the roof and the substructure can be removed, the shell roof taken down and disassembled and the modular wooden slats and the membrane covering can be reused for an other emergency situation.


Project by: Jacopo Agnolazza, Giovanni Gualdrini.
from Italy


Design idea
The design of a structure like that of an emergency operation center is quite a complex matter. In order to do so adequately, it is necessary to start with the identification of specific tools as well as ways to express them into the architectural form. We pictured ourselves into the eventuality of an emergency in the Sub-Saharan part of Africa and we imagined what kind of necessities people in this specific situation might have. We believe that the primary need of those who are faced with such kind of loss is that of being in a secure place where one can feel safe. Based on this assumption, we ponderated on the architectural components that can offer this feeling of security. We identified these in the element of the cover, that is the first element that can offer a shelter. For this reason, the main element that designs the shape of the building is a big coverage under which people can find a physical shelter as well as a feeling of security. For the same reason the functional volumes have a court-disposition which permits to recognize the central space as the safe one. An emergency situation is necessarily accompanied by a state of general confusion. Thus, a building with emergency operation function must be easily and reliably recognizable by all people. According to this idea we decided to design our main character (the covering) in a way that can be easily immediately recognized for its shape. The building becomes in this way a reference point for all the people that need a place to go. Our design also considers the difficulties that may arise from the management of a structure of this kind. The five different volumes are so dislocated responding to a logistic question. Each volume contains a different function in order to facilitate finding what one might be looking for. They are divided in volumes that contain services dedicated exclusively to the guests, and others that contain offices, meeting rooms and, in general, spaces for the logistics and the staff. The accesses to these volumes are always (except for the warehouse) located in the central court in order to further remark the importance of this area and support the logistics. On the other side, the same volumes have several window openings looking at the outside to convey a feeling of permeability and sharing between the inside and the outside parts of the building. The windows are designed to be used also as sitting elements usable from the outside. These volumes are covered by a cloth sheet to make the construction easier but also according to the intention of making them a unique space with all the other parts of the building. The absence of solid covering also helps the inner rooms natural ventilation. All volumes follow the same distribution rules with the entrances from the court and the windows in the outer walls. This pattern responds to the need of creating two points of direct interaction between staff members and guests, as well as between the inside and the outside. In the central volume and in the head of the office’s volume there are spaces of interface between the staff and guests. In these places people can find indications about services offered in the structure, and receive food or other different sorts of supplies. These spaces are designed as strings of openings wood panels able to open the space and create a unified area. An entire wing of the court is exclusively dedicated to all the services provided to the guests. Healthcare and psychological support functions are located in the biggest volume, whereas the smallest is dedicated to restrooms for the guest as well as all the people who need it. For this reason, we decided to put it in a specific position to be used by everyone.

Use of materials
Because of the nature of the project, the possibility that specific materials might not be found or that workers are not able to work according to a particular technique must be taken into consideration. Thus, we designed the building using nonspecific materials that can be replaced with those that are found on site. The cover is made of a support bamboo structure composed by couples of vertical elements dry-connected by nailing or ligature. In the case these materials are not available, it will be possible to use another one without a loss of spatial quality and expressive force. The same principle holds for covering layer that is designed with corrugated steel panels, which is one of the cheapest and easy materials to find. The volumes are made using bags filled with available materials like sand, soil or smashed rubble. The external layer of the walls can be covered by raw soil. The windows are realized with a simple wood frame that identifies the architectural holes. The lowest part of these frames is at a height of 45 cm and it can be used as a sitting element for the people outside the volume. The floor can be realized by using the same material (concrete as well as clay as well as stone) in every part of the building except the central part of the covered space that must be filled by soil to allow the growing of plants.

Construction process
The entire building is designed to be easily dry-assembled with simple building techniques that don’t require specialized workers. Perimeter walls of the inner volumes do not require foundations because they can be directly realized on the ground, as they do not need a complex structural frame. Owing to the fact that the cover and the inner volumes are separated elements, it is possible to realize the cover as the first step. In this way the covered space can be used by the people while the rest of the building is under construction. As soon as the structure and the covering layer are completed, it is possible to build the inner boxes posing them in correspondence of the structural grid which presents a constant structural step for the entire project. The simplicity of design, structural elements and building techniques permit to realize the project also using self-construction.


Project by: Piotr Dziewierz, Aleksandra Wykrota, Filip Sierak, Mateusz Ryjak.
from Poland


a. Design idea:
The disaster comes unexpectedly, taking everything away from its victims. Refugees lose their homes and possessions, social ties are disturbed, replaced with anxiety in fear of the coming tomorrow. The main idea of the designed center was to create an "hideaway" of space in which the camp's inhabitants could find a moment of peace, a place to organize events and rebuild a substitute for normality. At the heart of the designed building is an atrium, sun-protected fabrics hung on bamboo posts. Local motifs strengthen the identity of the place, its genius loci, connecting users to the designed space. The building is easy to transport, based on a bamboo thruss structure, easy to transport, assemble and disassemble. It can be easily expanded or reduced depending on changing conditions. In the proposed center plan, three separate functional, medical, office and storage zones can be distinguished. The office and storage areas have internal corridors, which aim to improve communication and orientation in the facility. The atrium is easily accessible from any zone. Raising the building above ground level allow it to function during heavy rains, while raising the roof improves ventilation.

b. Use of materials:
Bamboo was adopted as the basic construction material. It is the fastest growing and the strongest woody plant found on Earth. In Africa, this material is cheap and easily available, based on UN reports, its potential in this continent has not yet been fully utilized. Its use seems to respond to local needs. The frame construction of the center uses two modules, 4 m for rooms and 2 m for corridors, allowing to create a building that is easy to rearrange and adapt to changing conditions. The adopted module also ensures easy transport, avoiding elements longer than those that fit in a standard container. Remains from cut bamboo will be used as hanging pots, decorating the atrium and symbolically highlighting a new beginning. The walls separating individual rooms were also designed with bamboo, a different weave along with fabrics characteristic for a given zone will allow to distinguish door modules from walls, making orientation easier on the premises. The walls can be covered with earth to transform a temporary building into a permanent one. The roof of the building was designed with a mat using straw and bamboo shoots.

c. Mounting / construction process:
The first stage after delivery of the elements to the construction site is demarcation of the building's modular grid. Then 80 cm deep holes will be dug on places where the lines intersect. Concrete foundations for posts will be placed in them. Then the poles will be assembled and put in the holes of the concrete bases. Then the roof truss and floors will be constructed in form of grid, the beams should not be laid at intervals of more than 1 meter. The next stage is laying the floor and placing the mat on the roof, thanks to which the building will provide sun protection at a later stage of the construction. Then the partition walls will be set up to separate rooms, and cuttings from bamboo poles will be used as hanging pots, decorating the atrium.. It can also be transformed from a temporary building to a permanent one by enforcing wall construction with earth.


Project by: Efren Garcia, Gibran Partida, Carlos Zeron.
from Mexico


Africa | Context | Identification of ecoregions studied to develop the architectural proposal.
1. Desert (Sahara and Namib)
2. Steppe and Grasslands (Sub Sahara, from Sahel to the tropical forests)
3. Tropical forests (Jungle in central Africa)

Conflict classification.
- Geographic
- Sanitary
- Geopolitical

1. Provide a modular structure and cover that is easy to assemble, that can offer protection and is versatile. Allowing the primary humanitarian operations of any organization to take place.
2. Delimit the Operation Center by dividing spaces in a modular way, to house different uses and functions, as well as to respond to the needs during the reception, assistance and monitoring in complicated situations.
3. Generate through a resistant architecture, a semiotic related with the sub-Saharan natural context, using and taking advantage of natural materials, endemic to the region and having a low environmental impact.
4. Consolidate the Operation Center in a semi-permanent way, projecting on a master plan to support and take care of controlled communities in a medium term.
5. Develop replicable architecture that can respond to different situations, a proposal that can relate to different ecoregions and function under different types of emergencies, but that several models can be built with the purpose of rebuilding the community on a big scale and in a long term.

Achieves at short, medium and long term.
- Weeks. Construction and assembly of light and covered structure. Bamboo paneled subdivision. Operations center to be detachable, for short time, health care brigades, food and basic products distribution.
- Months. Construction and assembly of light and covered structure. Cisterns to store water. Construction of rammed earth walls. Bamboo paneled subdivisions. Semi-permanent Operations Center for health care brigades, distribution of basic products, psychological support and logistics programs for the community dealing with geographic, climatic and health conflicts.
- Years. Master plan made up of several prototypes of the Operations Center, separated and focused on different humanitarian actions. Modules that can support the healthcare, social and infrastructure sector by responding to diverse crises and emergencies of greater geopolitical impact. The main objective is the reconstruction of a community or social group on a large scale.

The Operations Center is made up of two parallel and equidistant volumes. The two buildings are located on a modular grid of wooden columns. The structural beams are made of wood and support the body of the roof made of galvanized metal cover sheets. The top of the building is the sub dominant element in the composition of the main design. The covers, sloping in one direction, have the function of channeling rainwater to store it. The water is channeled and ends in an underground reservoir. To protect the structure and the roof, a facade made of natural straw is used. The texture of the material creates a deep relationship between the natural contours and the building. The two buildings delimit the space, generating between them a central courtyard. The patio, as part of the building, offers a feeling of security, protection and peace. It is an open space that opposes the rest of the closed spaces. It is intended for activities that can be done outdoors and for the main point of social gathering. The central courtyard and the two modules are connected and delimited by a base that facilitates the circulation and functionality of the Operation Center. Each module has a covered main entrance, bounded by a heavy volume that gives service to the Center. The objective of these semi-open incomes, such as terraces, is their multifunctional use followed by the use of the landscape as a transition between the covered areas and exterior; It is the first point of contact with the people. The subordinate element, within the composition, is the heavy volume that helps as a warehouse or as dry toilets. The building responds to weather adversities that may arise during the contingency or social care. Walls of compacted earth or rammed earth walls, protect the structure and delimits the interior space of the Operation Center. Above the Wall, a border made of compressed earth blocks stands out, which in addition to accentuate the change in texture on the facade, its objective is to protect the upper part of the Center. The walls that line or surround the building are the dominant element of the design. The interior space of the two modules is divided by walls made of natural bamboo panels, which, in addition to being light, are easy to assemble. This way, the Center adapts effectively to the different needs that might be required.

The materials considered for the construction of the Operations Center are chosen with the premise that they must be environment friendly and that they can be obtained from the same site. Earth is the most widely used material. It is used from the base to the rammed earth walls and the compressed earth blocks. The use of cement will be low, just to give the appropriate harden and durability. Wood is important in the structure. The columns and beams are made of it, so they are lighter. The structure on the facade of the roof and the frames of the dividing walls and the doors are made of wood. For the unions, conjunctions and plaques it is proposed to use steel, due to its durability and strength. The cover is meant to be of a lightly corrugated galvanized metal sheet. Lastly, the use of bamboo is very important to separate modular spaces. The cover facade and ceiling in the inside are made of fine bamboo.

PHASE I. Foundation
Proposed foundation of concrete bases. Excavation and construction of cistern to store water.

PHASE II. Metal plaques and base
Metal plaques in concrete bases. Rammed earth base and concrete surface.

PHASE III. Wooden structure
Columns. Mounting of wooden columns to steel plates. Beams. On columns forming a wooden frame. Mounted in descending order to generate the roof slope.

External cover. Formed by a corrugated galvanized metal sheet. Perimeter faces or facade made of bamboo panel.

PHASE V. Bamboo walls
Modular and lightly panels created by natural bamboo and framed with wood. Interior ceiling. Natural bamboo framed with wood.

Rammed earth walls and compressed earth blocks.


Project by: Zakaria Boutebila, Nada El Boutaybi, Benoit Laurence.
from Algeria


The project’s idea is the transformation from a cultural dimension of serenity and safety into an operations emergency center that would serve as a welcoming space for people into difficulties and emergency situations. Thus, we are inspired by the African fabric pattern in order to create the general launch and distribution of the rooms and spaces. These patterns have deeply marked the African culture since prehistoric times.It’s an art that started in the first cave paintings and since then it has always been mixed with a religious dimension. The link between religion and culture is very tight, an inseparable bond that must be present in every aspect of the project, what explains the presence of the meditation room and gathering spaces. Whoever the refugees are, wealthy or not, old or young, thanks to the project’s inspiration by the African pattern, their perception to the space would be the same. A form and shape that would please to them all due to cultural baggage. The use of local materials and the inspiration by the culture transform the relationship that architecture weaves with these users and allows the appropriation of space. A dimension that transforms reception into a way of interacting with the cultural references of these users. The main materials we have used are the bamboo and the local existing wood. The idea is to use a bio-based materials that are the closest to the site. The goal is to have a minimal ecological footprint. The wood and bamboo are worked and ground so that the user is in direct contact with a little processed material, easy to assemble and disassemble. Steel and concrete are used to protect and anchor the project. The project is a series of large wooden pillars anchored to the ground with steel and concrete and ledges arranged on the ground. Subsequently, there are bamboos where medium sections of wood support the soil. On the ground, there are wooden panels whose layout is modular and whose presence qualifies the rooms. Wooden mats harmonize the facade and allow light to be filtered. A thin beam supports the roof and allows natural ventilation thanks to its porosity.


Project by: Maria Antal, Matei Alexandru-Ionut, Zotescu Robert-Eugen.
from Romania


“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” Mahatma Ghandi

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Martin Luther King Jr.

We live in a moment when we can all truly understand what a crisis means, how it can affect billions and how important it is to help and care each other. For to the 2020 Kaira Looro Architecture Competition theme our response is simple: Provide a low cost, low maintenance, highly adaptable, resilient structure that can host a variety of functions adapted to various situations. To generate this we started with the idea of a protective wall that creates not only a visual limit but also generates a psychological element of protection. The wall is made out of earth bags reinforced with steel wires, stabilized with bamboo poles and plastered with clay. In order to provide a sence of maximum security the wall is traversable in only two points of entrance on the East-West axis preferable. In order to provide adequate natural light inside, the wall is slightly shorter that the interior structure but it doesn’t detract from the concept of protection. In addition it helps with the natural ventilation of the space. In order to provide maximum functional freedom we introduce a free floor structural grid for the roof, marked by bamboo pillars. The pillars are positioned on top of small concrete foundations and connected by metal clamps. The structure also provides the frame for various positions of light weight bamboo partition walls that can be placed to better suit the functional requirements. The roof in made out of metal sheet and inclined toward a compluvium that collects water in the basin below while also introducing additional light inside the project. Another element we wanted to address is the psychological aspect of the project. In times of duress and hardship people want a sense of stability, calm and order, therefore we chose a symmetrical approach to our design with easily perceivable proportions and details.

The project cannot be designed with one particular crisis in mind but it has to be able to respond to a variety of situations that can arise. In order to do that we imagined a virtual scenario and how it would play out, each part of the scenario adding to the complexity of the project.
1 Like in many disaster situations the first requirement will be the need for a shelter, a place that protects from the hardship of the outside. In order to respond to that we designated a perimeter of 15 / 30 m with a 3m high surrounding wall. Inside, 32 bamboo pillars will generate the structural grid for the roof. With this simple solution we provide the maximum protection surface.
2 The second requirement is water. In order to respond to this we designed the roof with a compluvium that will collect rain water in the basin bellow it. Even in case of flooding, wells and rivers might be affected by debris rendering the water undrinkable, leaving rain water the only natural clean drinkable water source.
3 The third requirement is fire. For this requirement the same basin used to collect water can be used to host a fire source to boil tainted water or to provide heat if required. The placement will also protect the wooden structure from fire.
4 The forth requirement is food. Since we respond to the emergencies of a collective we need to have a way to store, organize and distribute food supplies. This is one of the reasons we designated the 2 separate rooms inside the perimeter. In these protected spaces, mass distribution of supplies can be organized.
5 Medical assistance. In case of an epidemic basic medical facilities have to be organized in simple functions: - triage, diagnostic and treatment. The layout of our project is organized to provide adequate space for these functions. The bamboo pillar structure provides the frame for necessary medical or administrative separations while generating additional pathways for all subsequent spaces. The main hall acts as a triage and diagnostic area, while the isolated rooms are dedicated for treatment.

Use of materials
The project relies on 2 main materials: earthbag walls and bamboo structure. The Earthbag wall system is easy to build with materials found on site, cheap and it has great properties against fire, earthquake, flooding and wind. The wall is mixture of clay (20-25%), sandy soil (70-75%) and moisture (10%) stuffed into polypropylene bags that are layered one on top of the other like masonry. There are various techniques to reinforce the walls ranging from barbed wire, concrete pillars or rebars but we chose to limit the amount of materials used to only 2. Thus we chose to reinforce the joints of the walls with bamboo poles that intersect at corners. This solution reinforces the corners and evens the weight distribution along the wall insuring minimum deformation and preventing fissures. Even so, to further assure stability, barbed wire will be used to connect the bags each 2 rows to prevent lateral movement, acting like mortar. The foundation is a rubble trench 50cm deep. Another advantage of the system is that it requires minimum skilled labor and it doesn’t require specialized tools or machinery, also the use of local materials further decreases the overall cost by eliminating transport costs for materials making it ideal for remote areas or where the roads are damaged due to a crisis. The Bamboo structure is lightweight and sturdy, the pillars are placed on a 4/4 m grid allowing for a balanced distribution of weight for the roof structure. In order to protect the pillars from humidity they are connected via metal clamps to a concrete block. The Roof is a lightweight metal sheet supporter by bamboo beams. The beams have clamp joint with the pillars

Construction PROCESS
The Construction Process of the project has the following steps:
STEP 1: Dig 50cm foundation trench and lay 15cm rubble into the trench
STEP 2: Place the concrete blocks for the main bamboo poles on a 4/4 m grid.
STEP 3: Fill the bags with soil, tamp as you fill and stitch them
STEP 4: Stagger the bags like masonry and place barbed wire in between the courses and every two layers of bags
place the bamboo pole for stability. And add the earthbag pedestal for the protection of the foundation.
STEP 5: Place other layers of Earthbags, and tamp each layer solid and level them with the bamboo poles.
STEP 6: Finish all the layers, while adding the frame for the entrance.
STEP 7: close the roof structure with bamboo poles using the earth wall as scaffolding.
STEP 8: Add the metal sheet to close the roof.
STEP 9:Plaster the walls and pedestal
STEP 10: Help those in need


Project by: Miguel Muñoz Ayllón, Ana Muñoz Antuña.
from Spain


In order to identify the shared features of a region as vast as Sub-Saharan Africa, absorbing ideas and influences is important to understand. It is relevant to be aware of what is built, ways of life, cultural differences, the relationship with colonial power and self-identity. This horizontal architecture halfway between the desert and the vegetation reflects the strong horizontality of the Sahel and the Savannah. A boundary between emptiness and built up space. In a moment, everything becomes nothing. We intend to respond to any emergency with a flexible architecture, adapted to the landscape and following the traditional construction typologies, which merge into a building equipped with large interaction spaces. The challenge of reintroducing the rural environment into contemporary life involves a frontal clash between nature and artifice. To do this, we consider the origins of inhabiting, when nature was ever present, and to the goal of facilitating humanitarian operations. Putting special interest in the environmental and social impact, the proposal is established from the idea of recovery, creating a point capable of restoring the environment and energizing the space. The project proposes a longitudinal construction at human scale, and with a simple character, taking note of the breadth of the landscape. Built on a raised bamboo platform, the project building is elevated over the ground to ensure the required conditions. The volumes are freely arranged on this platform, articulating throughout a series of patios and sheltered and ventilated spaces. It is an open building, designed for community use, but it also has workspaces and administrative rooms that are closer to each other. The project is developed separately between clay walls and braided wood. Intelligent design, the study of vernacular construction, and the introduction of more sustainable and more energy-efficient materials, are some of the challenges to curb the impact that the construction industry has on the climate and ecosystems. From the bioclimatic point of view, this design allows to cope with the conditions of the local warm climate thanks to the walls and the natural ventilation generated under the roof, ensuring thermal comfort. The spaces are flexible and can be arranged to be modified and adapted to the needs of each specific emergency. Due to this, the plant is completely modular and modifiable in various conditions which facilitates extension, adding parts and the creation of yards matching the context where it is inserted. It is suitable for public spaces both in emergency settlements, and in those more consolidated, since the fabric of the build-up areas still feels horizontal, despite the growing urban demography. Supposing it comes to an end as a long-term settlement or as an emergency makeshift, we believe that it is a building that can still be useful to the community, since the idea is to count on their continued involvement in the project. How? Through the promotion of the local economy and, depending on the urgency, with programs that go from the purchase of local materials, or the use of local manufacturing, to even follow on training on how to build workshops and the design of the modules. We believe that participatory strategies and the use of local labour must be used to promote the training of those most affected. Both the material and the construction should be entrusted to the beneficiaries of the project in order to reactivate their economy, in the same way we will proceed with the construction, in which the people, on a voluntary basis, will be employed.

The use of materials is based on sustainability and proximity to account for its relationship with the place and the climate. Materials that are present throughout all sub-Saharan Africa, such as adobe, bamboo and palm tree, permit to build an architecture of colonnades and porticos. We consider it vital in this context to be able to regulate the intensity of light and the need for shade where the activity can take place. A series of passive design strategies serve to climatically temper the building. The main one is the thermal inertia used in the walls made with bricks composed of a mixture of mud, straw and additives, which absorb heat during the day, and begin to release it once the internal temperature drops at night. The structure of the building is made up of a grid of bamboo pillars and beams. The roof is thermally insulated using very thin straw mats, making it a very suitable system to respond to climatic constraints. Its palm leaf configuration is intended to be able to moderate heat, variable humidity and rain, especially in mountainous and jungle areas. To obtain the wood and materials needed in construction, the purchase from local suppliers is assumed.

Despite the formalism of its features, its modulation is carefully articulated. We have built on a 6x6 standard module based on the dimensions of The NG15 shelter, adopted in humanitarian crises camps, and so in case of emergency this building can be set up in phases. To start the process of construction, we should start by stake out the foundation. The foundation will be seated on insulated concrete footings to prevent displacement. Then, on the bamboo sill plate, a woven palm weave would be placed on which a layer of clay would be applied by hand, functioning as floor. The bamboo gantries fit into the uplift of the foundations. Finally, the cover consists of a palm thatch roof placed on a sheet with a minimum thickness of mud applied on a layer of plastic material (such as garbage bags or other refuse around the settlement) that would act as a waterproofing sheet. The mud layer will serve to prevent its degradation due to solar action. Lastly, the braided palm technique is used for the interior lining.

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