by Snezhina Aleksieva, Zhenya Atanasova, Tsvetomira Ivanova & Pavel Tsochev
University of Architecture, Construction and Geodesy, Sofia, Bulgaria
Teacher: Plamen Bratkov
At least 35 million people in the world are either temporarily or permanently exiled from their homes and there are more refugees or internally displaced people than at any time since 1994. With the crisis in Syria, there are 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, and Zaatari is now the second largest refugee camp worldwide, with a population of around 160,000. The camp is overcrowded and poses threats to health, sanitation and security of all who live there. Streetlights are usually not a priority, even though lighting could make the environment safer, particularly for women and children, enabling them to leave their tents at night. The idea of the project is to bring safety and beauty into the lives of the refugees through the use of natural light. A cat’s cradle-like armature of lightweight nets are treated with photo-luminising powder charged on sunlight, which allow them to glow at night. In the day, the nets provide shelter from the strong sunlight.
The project deals with a serious subject that concerns us all in today’s unstable world. It demonstrates how a simple, practical solution can improve the quality of daily life as well as provide security.
The students have considered the conditions in refugee camps and how to go about addressing these challenges, which is not an easy task. They applied a technology that is plausible, even though the jury discussed its economic viability and whether it would raise environmental concerns. Yet ultimately the project was awarded a prize for its strong concept and extraordinarily poetic presentation.