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Crafting futures in a Lebanese refugee camp: the Burj el Barajneh Souk

Format: Papers, RSD6, Topic: Architecture & Planning

Nihal Halimeh, Mahmoud Halimeh and Helen Avery

participatory networks
community empowerment

The idea behind this project began through an ethnographic study of the Bourj el Barajneh Palestinian Camp’s population. Through the research and the understanding of the camp on all levels the project aims to use architectural methods to address the political and social relationships within the enclosed city and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

The sustainable and ephemeral Souk will empower an existing network of talent and craftsmanship; creating a metaphorical bridge that both connects and brings together segregated divisions on the political, social and urban level. The camp will be rejuvenated from within, as the Souk will assist in elevating the current population.

This project begins on a micro scale by working with what is already present and building upon it, creating a sustainable living structure. An architectural configuration will regenerate what is stagnant and fixed, strengthen the existing craftsmen, and improve on the new ephemeral and temporary formation.

The chosen space for the project within the camp is an already living and breathing organism. It is a social space, a market place and an area where the craftsmen have settled. After developing a master plan through different architectural strategies; concealing, constructing, regenerating and extending methods, this particular area stood out, as it’s already a platform with social, educational and industrial integrated programmes.

The current Souk will be renovated into a space that connects to the present research circles in Lebanon for creative design projects, this will mobilize and utilize the camp’s local talent while developing and expanding on the current knowledge and concepts needed to support a sustainable economy. As the Souk moves into the macro scale of the project it will tie into business support projects; which include shared distribution services, shared administration platforms for cooperatives with micro-banking and micro-insurance programmes.

o Maroun el-Daccache, Beirut: Architecture of conflicts, in Diagloghi tra Discipline, pp. 55-67. Ed. Statiozione Rogers.
o Students’ Final Year Projects. FYP 2014, American University. School of Architecture and Design, Department of Architecture and Interior Design. Architecture Programme.




Citation Data

Author(s): OCTOBER 2017
Title: Crafting futures in a Lebanese refugee camp: the Burj el Barajneh Souk
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 12 October 2017
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