Architecture Post-disaster Housing

The UN high commission for refugees and the Swedish firm Ikea have joined forces to come up with something better than a tent for those who, following some disaster or other, have to leave their homes.

According to the UNHCR – the United Nations Refugee Agency – about ten percent of the world's three and a half million refugees are housed in tents of one sort or another, and end up living in them for an average twelve years after whatever disastrous event it was that caused them to flee their prior lives in the first place. “Our tents have not evolved very much over the years” says Olivier Pierre Delarue, of the UNHCR. “They still rely on canvas, ropes and poles – and they usually only last for around six months.” They are also freezing in the winter, sweltering in summer, could be considered a fire hazard and usually have no internal illumination.

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