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Transitional sheltering for Myanmar


The goal of this exercise is to design a solution for transitional sheltering in the most disaster prone areas of Myanmar, where most of Myanmar’s poorest reside. A transitional shelter is deployed after the first stage of disaster relief, and therefore aimed at providing medium to long term housing. The vernacular housing of the poorer inhabitants of Myanmar already resemble such a shelter, in that the bamboo or wooden structures are quickly built and can last for several years, albeit under the right circumstances. However, these circumstances seldom are good enough for the shelters to withstand them. In order to provide an improvement on the current sheltering, the principle of ‘build it back better’ is to be deployed. This principle not only offers transitional sheltering, but simultaneously makes Myanmar’s population less vulnerable to disaster. First and foremost, the new shelter needs to be more flood- and cyclone resistant in order to provide improvement.

The dwellings need to last longer than the original ones, without compromising on the ease of construction. Therefore, the solution needs to be low-tech in production and comply with the inhabitant’s vernacular construction skills and methods. Freedom of design of the dwellings is also an important goal, which can be attained by providing a modular, extensible building system. Furthermore, in order to decrease the vulnerability of the target population, the solution aims at interrupting the vicious cycle of mismanagement of natural resources. To do this, and at the same time boost the economy, small scale material industry can be set up in the target areas. Lastly, as Myanmar further develops, the issue of waste will become more of a problem. Incorporating waste as a resource can prove to strengthen Myanmar’s economy and increase living standards.