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Want A New Way For Refugees To Live With Dignity?

There are a number of reasons that people can become refugees -- from geo-political conflicts to the effects of climate change. It is a devastating thing for people to lose everything in the path of these forces and then be faced with trying to rebuild a life from nothing. Designer Abeer Seikaly has come up with a different kind of shelter for refugees that gives them a small home of their own that is more functional than your average tent.

Collabsible Woven Dwelllings (Image via Abeer Seikaly)Collabsible Woven Dwelllings (Image via Abeer Seikaly)

For the most part a tent is a little bit of canvas overhead. These are often multi-family shelters lacking privacy and dignity. Seikaly envisioned a more functional shelter that would house a single family -- and something that would be just as mobile as a tent.

Collabsible Woven Dwelllings at Night (Image via Abeer Seikaly)Collabsible Woven Dwelllings at Night (Image via Abeer Seikaly)

The design rather resembles a cross between a beehive and one of those fold-out tissue paper decorations that were once ubiquitous in the U.S. The striking appearance is based on making the shelter as functional as possible. The dwelling is constructed of woven, technical, structural fabric that expands into a living environment. It is something like a new generation of the yurt, a mobile dwelling structure used by nomadic cultures of central Asia for centuries. This new design is far more functional in several modern ways.

Collabsible Woven Dwelllings (Image via Abeer Seikaly)Collabsible Woven Dwelllings (Image via Abeer Seikaly)

In addition to being collapsible for transport, the shelter has a system for cross-ventilation built in. The outer skin is designed to collect solar energy to provide useable electricity. A water storage unit in the top allows for the occasional small, quick shower (a drainage system is also included). The inner skin of the dwelling has pockets to provide storage.

Collabsible Woven Dwelllings (Image via Abeer Seikaly)Collabsible Woven Dwelllings (Image via Abeer Seikaly)

"This lightweight, mobile, structural fabric could potentially close the gap between need and desire as people metaphorically weave their lives back together, physically weaving their built environment into a place both new and familiar, transient and rooted, private and connected," says Seikaly. 

Collabsible Woven Dwelllings Interior (Image via Abeer Seikaly)Collabsible Woven Dwelllings Interior (Image via Abeer Seikaly)

While the shelter is still in the concept stage, it has proven to be workable and effective. It could change the lives of millions of refugees around the globe and give them a greater sense of home in a homeless situation, and a step towards dignity in an indignant state of being..

Sources: Green Prophet, Abeer Seikaly