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ArgumentNo. 14/2022

Emergency Housing: Models of Collective Temporary Housing and Their Living Patterns

  • / PhD.c. arch., Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, RO


Materiality plays a fundamental role in the existence of architecture and thus in shaping spaces. Spaces, whether interior or exterior, become the framework for the everyday life of their users. But what happens when a person loses their home and has to live temporarily in assigned emergency housing? This paper seeks to explore whether or not materiality, constructive systems, spatial configurations and functions can shape how people perceive emergency architecture and its temporary character. More importantly, this specific perception of space might determine the emergence of different living patterns.

In Romania, emergency housing can usually be found in collective housing buildings, but the country is now facing an availability crisis and the debate on architectural concepts that could address this issue is more than welcome, even if it can only generate theoretical proposals at this point. Therefore, this paper puts forward an analysis of international successful examples that offer architectural solutions which can be taken over and adapted locally. Two award-winning models of collective temporary housing used to accommodate people who have lost their homes will be used to showcase living patterns in emergency housing that ranges from individual spatial configurations to co-housing but has the same aim of helping users rebuild their social lives and daily routines. Human perception is subjective by definition. Temporary housing, whether in individual or shared units, in transition and during a crisis situation, is definitely an architectural challenge worth taking the time to address.


emergency housing, collective temporary housing, monolithic systems, modular systems, living patterns, co-housing



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