re-beirut II

After getting an overview on Beirut we have focused our research on urban refugees. Our first idea was to create living space within the urban context. But the solution has let us think about other questions. Finally we have noticed that one solution can not answer all questions. That is why we have decided to develop different concepts how to deal with urban refugees in Beirut, starting with protection, social needs, cultural needs and physiological needs such as sanitary installations or health care. The approach of our work will not be the result but the way approaching the result. In the last step we would like to make people develop our solutions from their point of profession.



sense of home

People living outside their home country – in particular refugees – are searching for identity.
Try to imagine you are in a foreign country seeing, hearing or tasting something that reminds you of your home country. You feel the sense of home.
It makes you smile, even if it is just for a moment.




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alhamra is a syrian brand.
the cigarette is smaller than the common ones.



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in damascus cabs are yellow.
for us it is nothing special, but in beirut it is.
there, cabs have different colors and only the red plate shows it.


what would it be like, if you see a well known facade of your hometown in the city you are just now?
in front of abandoned buildings images are installed that try to give the sense of home.
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how about the audiovisual perception?
right now you are in beirut, but you can hear the sound of your hometown.
it will result in a changed perception.


sence of home the other way around,
you are in germany and you hear the sound of beirut.

urban hydrant

During our research in Beirut we noticed that even if there is a need for shelter, many refugees do not have access to clean drinking water or sanitary installations.
The problem is, that dirty water results in illness. People are getting sick, can not work anymore und in the end of the day they are drifting into poverty. Furthermore it excludes from society. On the one hand to react on an exclusion, on the other hand to prevent illnesses, we questioned what kind of facilities are important, where they should placed and how many of them are needed.

The urban hydrant is a minimal unit
that complies the needs of water and sanitary
– a sink, a shower and a toilet.
The hydrant are placed all over the city
depending of the density of the urban refugees.

hydrant distributed

The urban hydrant can be put in different places. Most important is that the place is not too exposed. We decided to place the hydrant under bridges, behind walls, in dead ends, in garages or abandoned buildings. It is seen from the streets but still offers enough privacy.


cultural trojan

The cultural trojan is the result of thoughts that aims to integrate syrian refugees in Beirut. In our opinion the integration of the refugees is as same important as the creation of shelter or the supply of basic needs like water. The idea of the cultural trojan is to initiate a change of view in terms of the syrian refugees. As a kitchen the trojan is moving through the urban space and supply a platform for interaction between the syrian and libanese culture.

rendering troja


The following info graphics show the problems of the acceptance and integration of syrian refugees in Beirut, the conflict between syrian and lebanese people and the resulting discussions about employment, increasing costs and stressed infrastructure.

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This map shows the public urban space in Beirut which is very rare. Another idea of the cultural trojan is to reactivate urban space for the public resulting in conversation and interaction between the different cultures.

How to build up the cultural trojan?

The kitchen is a mirrow of cultural peculiarities and traditions and furthermore a space for interaction and communication. The syrians invite the libanese people. The kitchen and the common meal symbolise hospitility, the open mind of the syrian people and their engagement to rethink about the view on refugees of giving instead of taking.


The number of syrian refugees coming to Beirut increases constantly. Fleeing from the civil war, they are searching for shelter. The question, how to create shelter is ubiquitous. All over the place, particulary in the Gemmayzeh district exist abandoned buildings that are going to demolish. Is it possible to keep the cultural heritage of Beirut on the one hand and on the other hand to develop shelter for the syrian refugees? We think it is! Our idea is to offer a stragedy, like an instruction, how refugees can renovate abondoned buildings. The proposal is more to create a place a process is starting than to show how to deal with the existing structures.
The caravansery for syrian refugees is thought as a catalyzer for a development, that tries to create new habitat in old buildings.

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A caravansary was an walled-in accomodation. There travellers could stay at night with their animals and goods. Caravansaries were also used as storage and trade.


This shows the daily activity of the refugees living in the caravansary.

The idea is to create a place from where the development of rebuilding abandoned building can start. The caravansary is a place where materials get collected, workshops are supplied and refugees can live. From time to time more and more buildings are becoming renovated, so there is an increasing number of supplied shelter. This map shows the development within the Gemmayzeh district.

And a topology of the condition of different abandoned buildings.

Zitat lebanese Gouvernement

„It is widely believed that the Lebanese government opposes the formation of refugee camps because of the terrible experience that Lebanon has had with Palestinian […] More than that, I would love to hear about a public decision of the Lebanese government vis-à-vis the ongoing crisis, a vision, a strategy, a long term perspective, how are we going to capitalize on the fact that we have a million individual in the country with energy, work capabilities, ideas, and energies….“

Mona Fawaz, Professor for Urban Planning and Policy Program at the AUB

basic needs

The 2013 level of displacement was the highest on record since comprehensive statistics on global forced displacement have been collected.


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review.
Because self esteem and self actualisation is more common in western cultures, we replaced the items with cultural needs, that can differ from country to country.

Comparison of the basic needs of syrian refugee and a german citizen.

first colloquium

In these days we had our first colloquium presenting the current status of work.