Customisable shelter solutions: A case study from Zaatari refugee camp

Molly McGrath, Dima Albadra, Kemi Adeyeye

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


The average stay in these settlements exceeds a decade. Available temporary shelters solutions follow either a top down or bottom up system. This paper sets out to analyse the benefits and deficiencies of both systems, highlighting their limitations. The generic nature of refugee housing often does not adapt to the variety of cultures and individuals represented.
We propose addressing these limitations with customisable and adaptable solutions. The benefits of such approach on the well-being of the displaced population are discussed. Using Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan as a case study we analyse the adaptability and potential for personalisation of typologies of temporary shelters for refugees used in the camp. Zaatari Refugee camp in Jordan is home to nearly 80,000 Syrian refugees, some of whom have been
there since the camp opened on 29th July 2012. At the time of writing the residents of Zaatari will have been living in basic caravan shelters for up to 5 years. Over this time the majority of occupants have adapted and personalised their given shelters in order to regain a sense of normality. This is despite the fact the shelters provided were rigid in nature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 5th International Conference on Architecture and Built Environment
PublisherGet it Published
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)ISBN 978-3-9818275-9-0
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2018


  • Refugee camps
  • Shelters
  • Temporary housing
  • Jordan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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