Starchitect-designed refugee shelters focus on flexibility
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is best known for designing high-profile buildings, but its latest project sees the firm turn its considerable talent to meet the needs of displaced people. It has created a series of flexible tent-like structures which are being distributed to those in need throughout Syria, Turkey and Yemen.
Interestingly, the structures are recognizably designed by ZHA and echo the firm's signature curving style. They are anchored by concrete foundations and feature a steel framework and fabric, with partially translucent sections and skylights ensuring daylight permeates within. Natural ventilation is also a focus.
According to ZHA, the tents are also designed to be "weather-proof" and can be easily moved and re-assembled, or alternatively they can be joined together to make larger shelters if required. Once they are no longer needed, they can then be recycled.
Three of the shelters are already being used as schools for hundreds of displaced children in Pakistan and Turkey, and the plan is for a further 24 more shelters to be rolled out in the coming months.
"The newly donated structures will be used as schools, clinics and temporary shelter for displaced communities in Syria, Turkey and Yemen," explained ZHA. "Fifteen tents will be given to IOM [International Organization for Migration], of which 10 will serve as schools and five as health clinics in Turkey and Yemen. In Syria, Qatar Red Crescent will receive 12 structures that it will serve as shelters for displaced communities in Syria."
The project is being created alongside the Education Above All Foundation and Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, which also handled the country's recent World Cup.
"These vital structures will showcase the legacy of the first FIFA World Cup in our region," added Eng. Yasir Al Jamal, Director General, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. "From day one, our goal has been to deliver a tournament that would benefit Qatar, the region and the world."
This isn't the first time a well-known company has shown an interest in refugee shelters, and Ikea produced a widely celebrated shelter that reportedly required a redesign due to some quite significant safety issues. Hopefully ZHA's efforts are rolled out more smoothly.