Visualisation of refuge podsAll rights reserved. by Jana Burger

Finding refuge

Temporary accommodation for displaced persons should provide more than just a roof over their heads.

People displaced by human-caused or natural disasters can be living in temporary settlements for seven to ten years. Architecture student Jana Burger chose to design refuge pods for her project. Jana's modular design is universal, able to be constructed in different locations, contexts and typologies. 

The design relies on 3D printing construction, a new but rapidly increasing construction technology, which enables timely construction.  Adjustable levelling jacks are built into the bottom of individual pods so that they can be used on uneven sites. Pods can be connected to each other, and pods can be moved by forklift or by adding wheels to the jacks. Weatherproofing improves water-resistance of the 3D printed bioplastics, and extends the pods' lifespan up to 15 years. The bioplastics can be melted down and recycled.

Jana was concerned that current emergency shelter responses do not adequately address the personal needs of those displaced. Kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms are built in to Jana's modules, and the pods can be reconfigured inside, rearranged relative to each other, and upgraded, to respond to users' changing needs, e.g. family size. Jana's aim was to give displaced persons a sense of ownership and belonging.