What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge 2016

American architect and Amsterdammer David Dwars, former dealer for office furniture manufacturer and John Adams-sponsor Herman Miller, won a prestigious place as runner-up in the Refugee Challenge organized by What Design Can Do. The Challenge drew 631 entries from 70 countries. His team Architects for Society designed the so-called Hex House, ‘a rapidly deployable, dignified home’.

The hexagonal prefab house is conceived as a low-cost, off-grid, long-stay home which is shipped as a flatpack in pieces and assembled by the end users. Three home kits fit inside a typical transport trailer. The houses have adjustable ‘feet’ to accommodate uneven terrain. The hexagonal houses can be combined into clusters to create shared gardens and gathering spaces. A communal hex House can provide a shared kitchen, a computer room and space for childcare. Heating is improved by arranging the houses so that they share walls; they can be powered by solar panels and can harvest rainwater. The single unit of 40 square meters is a compact two-bedroom home, and two units can be combined for larger families. The configuration can be personalized by the inhabitants.

The founders of Architects for Society come from North America, Europe and the Middle East. This global non-profit design practice was founded in 2015 to ‘enhance the built environment of disadvantaged communities through affordable, innovative architecture and design’.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders announced the five winners of the Refugee Challenge on July 1st at the 6th edition of the yearly conference What Design Can Do. Read all about them at http://www.whatdesigncando.com/ and on the design blog Dezeen.