In an effort to aid the plight of refugees around the world fleeing war and persecution, two young architects in 2016 embarked on a project designed to improve the mental health of refugees in camps. Led by Bonaventura Visconti di Modrone and Leo Bettini Oberkalmsteiner, and supported by the UN International Organization for Migration, “Maidan Tent” allows refugees to benefit from indoor public space – a communal area to counteract the psychological trauma induced by war, persecution, and forced migration.
Two years on, the first tent has been installed at the Ritsona refugee camp in Greece, currently hosting more than 800 refugees. The camp which now hosts the inaugural Maidan Tent was also the subject site where the design team made eight visits to throughout the past two years.
During the visits, the team reflected on their conversations with refugees. They recognized a psychological ‘migration trauma’ within the community, the result of dangerous journeys in improvised or unsafe rafts across the Mediterranean Sea.
In refugee camps, a sprawling arrangement of tents and containers, and a lack of common areas can generate alienation and disorientation. The design team, therefore, believe that the public, organized common area offered by Maidan Tent can allow the community to play, interact, and empathize under a moveable, sheltered, expressive structure. The word 'Maidan' is itself derived from the Arabic for 'square', further reflecting the scheme’s dedication to social interaction.
Maidan Tent covers an area of 200 square meters, with an aluminum structure covered by a water, wind, and fire resistant textile offering a sheltered, safe environment for up to 100 people. The shelter is inherently flexible, with standardized components allowing for easy installation and maintenance, and eight modular spaces which can be adapted for a range of uses.
The scheme’s circular shape is a conscious attempt to invite people to enter from any direction, where a series of semi-private spaces can enable refugees to establish personal relationships.
Learn more about Maidan Tent from the official website here.