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Over 7.6 million people have been displaced due to the Syrian civil war alone. UNHCR studies have shown that most refugees live in poverty and lack the essential amenities such as drinking water, heating and toilet facilities. In order to meet the growing demands for sustainable solutions that offer optimal living conditions for the displaced, the team behind The Better Shelter Housing Units made sure to create a design that can be produced in high volumes at an affordable price and, thanks to its flat-pack design, would be easy to transport and assemble on site by a team of four people in only in 4-8 hours. It is composed of three individual parts – Frame, Panels and PV System, and uses solar power for LED lightingand charging small devices.

Related: Shigeru Ban’s ‘Humanitarian Architecture’ focuses on emergency response design

The project was developed in collaboration between the UNHCR and the IKEA Foundation, and the first prototypes were tested and developed together with refugees in Ethiopia and Iraq. Among the most important design features of this modular emergency shelter is the fact that it can be used for a longer period of time compared to currently used emergency shelters. The expected lifespan of a single unit is 3 years and the house can be disassembled and reused when needed. “Better Shelter is a social enterprise. With entrepreneurial energy and market discipline we achieve social change on a large scale in a financially self sustainable way. Every dollar we generate in profit is reinvested within our company or distributed to our philanthropic owner, the Housing for All Foundation.”

+ Better Shelter Housing Unit

ViaDesign to Improve Life

Second photo by R. Cox