Architecture – “Fortunately, it is possible to take away one’s house, but never one’s dignity,” says Slava Balbek, founder of Kyiv-based practice balbek bureau that developed a modular and scalable, temporary housing scheme able to provide a decent home to displaced Ukrainians.
According to the UN, more than 11.6 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes since Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. These are 4.5 million refugees who have had to go abroad in search of safety and 7.1 million internally displaced persons who have found refuge elsewhere inside Ukraine.
“We analyzed the experience worldwide in developing, constructing, and maintaining temporary settlements. Therefore, we have developed a flexible system that can be adapted to different types of terrain, landforms and settlement density.”
The RE:Ukraine town system can be scaled-up starting from four different types of 6.6 m x 3.3 m timber-framed boxes that can be quickly assembled according to the emergency and the number of refugees: private rooms with different planning options, communal spaces for cooking, common recreation area and sanitary spaces such as bathrooms, laundry, baby care rooms. According to preliminary estimates, the cost of the project is about $ 350-550/sqm.
“For the basic comfort of the residents, each section has at least one bathroom, kitchen, and a common space for relaxation and socialization.” The sections are grouped into full-fledged neighborhoods with playgrounds and green areas. If necessary, the quarter can be scaled to the size of a 8.000 people town in areas without active fire in Ukraine or abroad.
“Because time plays against us, the system is designed to be implemented in a short amount of time. Families who have spent several weeks sheltering in school gyms and metro stations need to find homes as soon as possible, even if those homes are temporary.”
balbek bureau has met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the construction of a settlement of 1.300-5.000 people near the cities of Bucha e Irpin. “Together with representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and local authorities, we discussed the challenges caused by the war: destroyed cities, damaged infrastructure, and high demand for apartments.”
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