Better Home for Tomorrow's Refugees

A NON PROFIT GROUP OF ARCHITECTS, KNOWN AS ARCHITECTS FOR SOCIETY, HAS DESIGNED LOW COST, EASY TO INSTALL MASS HOUSING UNITS FOR REFUGEES AND FAMILIES IN TIMES OF UNPLANNED EMERGENCIES. 

Events around the world, from natural to manmade may cause unplanned mass displacements in different places. From wars to hurricanes to earthquake warnings, people are sometimes made to move in masses, unplanned and most times unready.

Following the recent refugee migration problems in war torn areas around the world, architects are proffering new solutions for quick, emergency housing of refugees. Recently, new innovative designs have been set up for refugees from the new flat-pack shelters manufactured by IKEA to folding emergency shelters by the Scottish design agency Suisse. Coming on the wings of innovation comes meet the Hex house.

The Hex House is the latest in a series of proposals for refugee housing, prompted by events taking place around the world. The project was birthed by Architects for Society, a nonprofit design practice established in September 2015. The group was founded by architects and designers from the US, Spain, Canada, Jordan and the Netherlands. The Hex house, still at the prototype level has been designed for rapid deployment for victims in times of catastrophic events. Hex House, the 40-square-metre unit is largely made of steel-and-foam Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), which can be flat-packed and delivered by truck to a building site. With an easily scalable design, each apartment can house a family of refugees for up to 20 years. By design, each Hex House unit contains two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room and a small porch. Units can be combined to form larger homes. Owing to the project’s flexibility, the shelters can be arranged in various ways, allowing for extra inputs of exterior gardens, courtyards, driveways and pedestrian paths. All components of the design have been made to keep the project effective in housing yet low-cost. 

The interiors will feature simple, functional yet elegant finishing like gypsum walls, bamboo cabinetry, and ceramic tile flooring in the bathroom. Walls and flooring would have SIPs with steel facings and rigid foam insulation. Each unit also has a rainwater harvesting systems, underground water storage tanks and rooftop solar panels that can power lighting and small electronics. Speaking, the group explained

The hexagonal roof allows for optimal solar panel placement, with three surfaces oriented for maximum solar incidence as the sun moves across the sky...

Currently, the organisation is raising money through a crowdfunding campaign to construct a Hex House prototype. It also is in the midst of working out a contract with a SIPs manufacturer in Florida to build a prototype and manufacture the homes in mass.

Considering the structures simple design, the designers project that Hex House can be fully assembled by inhabitants, using simple tools and a little training. This might be the hope and future for unplanned calamities.