Best known for his work with low-cost materials like cardboard and shelters for disaster victims, Shigeru Ban has signed an agreement to design up to 20,000 homes for people in the Kalobeyei Refugee Camp in Kenya. His involvement came after hearing of the immense challenges facing humanitarian agencies in providing shelter to tens of thousands of refugees arriving in the area from countries such as South Sudan.
Huge & Growing Problem
Over 37,000 refugees, mainly from South Sudan and Somalia, live in Kalobeyei. Shigeru Ban visited the settlement, met with refugees, the local community, and looked at existing structures housing thousands of displaced people, to help assess their needs.
Shigeru has previously completed shelter projects in Italy, Turkey and Nepal using basic materials like cardboard, wood, and beer crates.
Use Local Materials
In the architect’s view: “The key thing will be to design and construct shelter where no or little technical supervision is required, and use materials that are locally available. It’s important that the houses can be easily maintained by inhabitants.”
20 Home ‘Tester’
The design will be tested on 20 shelters first, and if successful will be rolled out to replace existing structures. County officers and representatives from the refugee and host community will have an input in the design process.
The world has become pretty good at delivering immediate responses – tents, plastic sheeting, water bowsers and other improvisations. The urgent provision of the temporary shelter needed is to be applauded. Unfortunately it often carries a nasty sting in its tail – a real and desperate need for long term resettlement. This is not only happening as a result of natural disasters, or only in developing countries, it is becoming an endemic problem in some of the World’s richest and most developed nations.
Re-locatable & Permanent Solutions
What is needed is a new approach to emergency relief housing. A fresh look not just at how to provide emergency shelter, but at the same time to consider how longer-term needs should and can be met. First addressed following our supply of units to the Red Cross in the mid ‘00’s as our DiRReP web site and paper on this emphasises, we must avoid turning today’s desperate need into tomorrow’s on-going despair.
Custom & Bespoke Homes - Working with Architects & Developers
One possible extension for our Containerised DiRReP units is to remove the simple roof and add joists for another one or two floors. We’ve been doing this for our ‘regular’ house design for several years now, ‘optimising’ the roof space for self-builder client’s by using factory cut rafter roofs rather than metal plated web trusses.
Empty Shells for “CUSTOM Self-Builds”
Our ‘Benfield Homes UK’ division is now working with architects & developers to take over the burden of dealing with the latest government planning requirement for ‘Custom Self-Build’ homes on every development. Observing agreed Design Codes and Plot Passports for planning permissions, our in-house architects and designers use advanced timber frame technology to provide ‘empty’ shells for ‘Custom Self-Builders’ to plan and fit out interiors to suit their own ideas. Four stages of completion are offered, from bare shell, with elevations completed, through to ‘turnkey’ delivery.
PLEASE CONTACT US FOR AN INFORMAL DISCUSSION AS TO HOW WE MIGHT WORK TOGETHER
While it is often misunderstood, the earlier we can become engaged with a project, the better the result. From early design, through technical development of the structure and manufacturing to transport and erection, our timber based pre-fabrications minimise the need for special equipment and make delivering the affordable high quality buildings that architects and their clients want – especially on difficult to access sites.