Time and temporality in transitional post-disaster architecture

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


There has been an increase in the propensity for natural disasters with significant consequences such as loss of homes, life, welfare and livelihood. The period of recovery for those affected can vary significantly depending on context; physical, political and economic.
The architectural approach for providing shelter also varies especially when considering the issue of timeliness and temporality of emergency response to enable recovery and return to normality.
The current approach to delivering shelters post-natural disasters is influenced by factors of timeliness and temporality. Timeliness in the sense that urgent shelter is often required and the housing solutions are delivered to meet this need. Temporality is defined as the subjective or experiential passage of time. Most post-disaster shelters are designed to be temporary as in not-permanent, this notion in itself can be problematic as this objective then defines their
design, function and purpose. However, it has been shown that most of the ‘temporary’ shelter solutions can exist well beyond the immediate to short term, some have been used for decades since the event took place. There is therefore the need to critique this approach and explore solutions that are capable to evolve and transition in time.
This presents a theoretical critique of these in the context of disaster shelters using examples of the disaster shelter design challenge recently completed by postgraduate students of our MSc in Modern Building Design. The students were given 4 elemental challenges: Air, Fire, Earth and Water; situated in real disaster contexts in 4 continents. They explored the physical, socio-cultural, economic and environmental issues to formulate architectural solutions that are both timely and temporal. Their outputs show that this approach is feasible and realistic for the delivery of immediate shelter solutions as well as long-term resilience to individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 5th International Conference on Architecture and Built Environment
Place of PublicationGermany
PublisherGet it Published
Pages01.110.1 - 01.110.13
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 978-3-9818275-9-0
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2018


  • Architecture
  • Natural Disaster
  • Resilience
  • Temporality
  • Transitional Shelter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Development


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