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Shelter architecture in Chelm. Pavilions designed by Shigeru Ban were built in Tesco

Dobrawa Bies
15 of March '22

In Chelm, a reception desk and special pavilions for Ukrainian refugees have been arranged in a hall formerly occupied by a Tesco supermarket. The unusual spaces, as they are made of paper according to a design by Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, provide a bit of privacy, which is hard to come by in such facilities. Hubert Trammer is behind the initiative, and Dr. Jerzy Lątka, along with architecture students from the Wroclaw, Warsaw and Lublin Universities of Technology, among others, is behind the execution. The implementation was supervised by Shigeru Ban himself, who visited Chelm.

Architektura schronienia w Tesco

A panoramic view of the resulting shelter architecture

photo: Jerzy Lątka

The city of Chelm, less than 30 kilometers from the Dorohusk border crossing, has launched a second reception point for some two thousand refugees, where they will be able to rest and wait for further transportation. The point was established in a hall formerly occupied by Tesco, and it is there that intensive work has been carried out since last Wednesday to separate the space and prepare the accommodation section - boxes according to Shigeru Ban's design.

Shigeru Ban wraz z wolontariuszami

Schigeru Ban, Dr. Jerzy Lątka, Hubert Tramer and students

Photo: Jerzy Lątka

shelter architecture

The idea of the Japanese architect, winner of the 2014 Pritzker Prize, is to divide facilities temporarily adapted for refugees into smaller zones for privacy. These are small structures housing several field beds. The frames of the boxes, on which hang the curtains separating the space, are made of cardboard sleeves. The architect called the idea a paper partition system and has used it in many places around the world, including after the 2016 earthquake in Italy.

Widok na instalację Shigeru Bana

The reception point in Chelm provides accommodation for 640 people

photo by Jerzy Lątka

cardboard town

What does the construction of such a cardboard town look like? It resembles stacking blocks and is not very complicated. The construction elements - six thousand paper sleeves- were donated free of charge by the Corex Group, a company that manufactures cardboard tubes, and the fabric, consisting of thousands of cubic meters of space, was divided by a sewing shop from Krasnystaw.

Montaż instalacji schronień

The structure is made of paper sleeves

photo Jerzy Łątka

To make sure everything went smoothly, Dr. Jerzy Lątka together with students from PWr had already built a prototype module based on Shigeru Ban's PPS system a few days earlier. They optimized the paper tubes for material consumption and strength. The most labor-intensive part was drilling the holes in the tubes and preparing all the materials, but thanks to the commitment of many volunteers, the work went smoothly and after just two days a township with 640 beds was built. Schigeru Ban himself supervised the project, and his studio financially supported the implementation.

Tymczasowe schronienia

Boxes provide privacy

photo by Jerzy Lątka

temporary architecture in more cities

Temporary shelter architecture designed by Shigeru Ban is being built in other cities in Poland. The space of BWA Wrocław Główny has also been arranged as shelters for those fleeing the war in Ukraine. The gallery space on the mezzanine level of the main train station has been transformed thanks to cooperation with Wroclaw University of Technology and the New European Bauhaus.

Paper Partition System na dworcu głównym we Wrocławiu aper Partition System na dworcu głównym we Wrocławiu

Paper Partition System at Wrocław's main train station

photo: Maciej Bujko

Students Agata Jasiolek and Jerzy Lątka, together with the BWA Wrocław team, with the support of volunteers and people willing to help, have made it possible for refugees to have decent conditions to stay and a sense of intimacy. As a result, we now have almost eighty units at the station, where one hundred and sixty people can spend time and spend the night," says Zhaneta Wanczyk of BWA Wroclaw Contemporary Art Galleries.

Acutally, another realization is being prepared in Chelm at MOSiR, which is being supervised by Dominik Pękalski, similar realizations are being planned in Cracow, which is being worked on by architects Barbara Nawrocka and Dominika Wilczynska from MiastoPracownia and the Institute of Architecture, and the organization of the realization in Warsaw is being supported by Wojtek Kotecki from BBGK studio

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