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How to make refugees comfortable? Balbek studio project

28 of March '22

In the face of the refugee crisis, architects face the challenge of designing spaces that will provide comfort, safety and dignity to those fleeing war. Ukrainian studio Balbek has developed a system for building settlements that can be built very quickly and provide adequate conditions.

We are witnessing one of the largest refugee crises in several years. The United Nations Human Rights Council estimates that more than three million people have fled from Ukraine to neighboring countries. It is important to remember that the refugee movement also exists inside Ukraine. This is a challenge, first of all, from the side of management and rapid organization, as well as the provision of appropriate conditions. On why creating the right conditions for refugees is so important, Jakub Szczęsny writes in his latest book, an excerpt of which we publish on our portal(See here). One way to arrange the space is the paper partition system designed by Shigeru Ban. It was applied in Chelm(See here).

Architects from the Ukrainian Balbek studio created the Re:Ukraine modular housing development system, which minimizes costs while providing a higher standard for residents.

W systemie najważniejsze było stworzeni przestrzeni, która pozwoli na lekką adaptację.

The most important thing in the system was to create a space that allows for light adaptation.

© Balbek

study on refugee settlements

The studio's goal was to create a design that would allow adequate conditions for people fleeing war. The most important thing for the architects was to implement the idea of "Dignity no matter what." The Re:Ukraine settlements were to, above all, provide comfortable conditions for the people in them.

architekci rozpoczęli pracę nad Re:Ukraine od przeanalizowania innych osiedli dla uchodźców

The architects began work on Re:Ukraine by analyzing other settlements for refugees

© Balbek

The architects began by analyzing more than twenty completed refugee settlement projects from around the world. They paid attention primarily to the structures, the way the space was organized, the conditions provided, the cost and the period of construction. It is worth noting that some refugee settlements are not temporary - some such complexes built in 2015 in Ukraine were still home to people fleeing the war. Very often, "temporary housing" turns into long-term residence - all the more reason why good organization and quality improvement should be the direction in the design of these places.

przeanalizowano również wykorzystanie kontenerów i innych rozwiązań przy takich osiedlach

The use of containers and other solutions at such settlements was also analyzed

© Balbek

goals to be provided

After analyzing the existing settlements, the architects decided to set the most important goals related to Re:Ukraine. First and foremost, the project was to be based on modules, so that organizing such a settlement does not require many months. Flexibility was also important - the project must be ready for changes and adaptation depending on the terrain and requirements. Equally important were issues of ensuring the dignity of refugees and their ability to adjust to the new reality.

The architects paid attention to the number and placement of common areas in such settlements. The close placement of kitchens and toilets, combined with the designation of common areas, will allow better adaptation for newcomers, as well as remove the risk of ostracism and feelings of exclusion from the group.

schemat, który pokazuje jak niewielka zmiana pozwoli na poprawę jakości życia

A diagram that shows how a small change will improve the quality of life

© Balbek

modular solution

At the same time, the architects at Balbek were keen to organize such settlements as quickly as possible. Refugee crises require quick organization. Their price also needs to be optimized. During the design process, the architects looked at various solutions of individual modules used for refugee settlements.

The modules developed for Re:Ukraine are based on a frame system, using the most basic materials, such as OSB or mineral wool. The cost per square meter is between $350 and $500.

materiały wykorzystane przy tej architekturze mają być tanie i łatwo dostępne

The materials used in this architecture are expected to be cheap and readily available

© Balbek

From a few houses to small towns

One of the advantages of this system is the possibility of organizing a Re:Ukraine settlement for a few dozen residents, as well as for eight thousand people. Balbek studio architects have created a plan for how the settlement can be expanded without losing the space needed for refugees. The layouts of such settlements can be modified to suit the environment in which they may be built.

przykładowy układ, który może zostać zastosowany przy wznoszeniu Re:Ukraine

An example of a layout that can be used in erecting Re:Ukraine

© Balbek

osiedle Re:Ukraine można rozbudować do wielkości miasteczka - tworząc miejsce dla 8220 osób

Re:Ukraine settlement can be expanded to the size of a township - creating space for 8220 people

© Balbek

architecture needed yesterday.

The Re:Ukraine system was organized to address the refugee crisis related to the war in Ukraine, including the movement of refugees inside the country. The project allows for quick implementation in a variety of conditions, but most importantly, it pays attention to something that is often forgotten - ensuring dignity and comfort. For those fleeing war, the stress, devastation and exhaustion is unimaginable. The empathetic side of architecture can be an important factor in allowing them to adapt and have a well-deserved rest.

najważniejszym atutem tego projektu jest możliwość szybkiej implementacji

the most important asset of this project is the possibility of quick implementation

© Balbek

developed by Wiktor Bochenek

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