AMMAN – In the midst of a brutal civil war in Syria, large populations of people are being displaced due to conflict. According to the United Nations an estimated 1.3 million of these refugees are children under the age of 18 years, who not only lack basic necessities but also do not have access to education. Pilosio Building Peace, a non-profit organisation, is working with architects Pouya Khazaeli and Cameron Sinclair on the Re:Build project, designing a re-deployable building system for displaced populations in Amman, Jordan. The structural system adapts to the needs of individual communities, functioning as a house, school or clinic. The project aims to provide a safe space which is transitional, comfortable and functional in the refugee camps with the main focus of cultivating education for school-aged Syrian refugees. Re:Build focuses on the importance of having a safe place to grow up while taking into consideration the importance of education.
The idea behind the building system is to directly use the earth ‘beneath your feet’ as the primary material for construction. The basic structure of the school built in Queen Rania Park and Zaatar refugee camp combines natural elements such as sand with scaffolding tubes, without the use of water or electricity. The buildings are erected using a frameworks of scaffolding tubes, which are filled in between with earth to form the walls. A roof is created with steel panels, which can also be filled with earth to grow vegetation. The structure is simple and economical – the use of sand sustains as a natural insulator corresponding with the local climate. Re:Build gives Syrian refugees – with no prior knowledge of construction – the opportunity to directly be involved in assembling the structures, as well as a sense of fulfilment.
The modular structure provides a secure space to educate up to 125 children and has a positive impact on the environment through its use of sustainable local materials. Most importantly it tackles a very difficult and disheartening situation, encompassing a sense of hope for thousands of displaced people, placing emphasis on education and human necessities through architecture.
Photos courtesy of Pouya Khazaeli