Weaving Communities- A Bazaar Weekend | Samantha Ong

In terms of fostering communal growth as well as empowering the individual, how can the provision of tools and skills contribute toward a greater stability?

By contributing to an existing economy, can the refugees provide a new essential service to a mutually beneficial relationship with the neighboring area?

Can a series of apprenticeships empower the refugees to take on more of a role in managing the camp, building cooperative efforts, and ultimately transitioning the camp to a settlement?

RTF Sustainability Awards 2017
First Award | Category: Urban Design

Architect: Samantha Ong
Team Members: Juan Vallejo, Emir Abdul-Emir, Daniella Vega-Ortiz
University: City College of New York – The Spitzer School of Architecture
Country: United States


Situated on the outskirts of two larger cities, Athens and Piraeus, the existing Schisto Refugee Camp is nestled in the middle of an industrial park close to nowhere. By integrating a marketplace as the main program of the site, the camp potentially attracts vendors from the neighboring communities of Attica. Following the narrative of the weekly bazaar as the source of income and way of life, the relationship between the vendors and refugees could become linked and mutually beneficial.

Each container home is provided with a variety of opportunities to further customize their new space, such as the possibility to create their own community spaces, storefronts, or even vertical gardens for produce through an attachable mechanism.

By inviting their participation in shaping their own spaces, the homes and communities become more comfortable and significant to those inhabiting it. To further emphasize cooperative living, the settlement is organized into clusters – containing communal gardens, kitchens, informal gathering spaces, as well as services.

With the hydroponic aspect of the proposal, a waste management loop is implemented to supply fertilizer to the various gardens as well as to provide an additional product for export.

Looking past the refugee crisis, the camp may extend through its refugee camp phase and into an established market community/settlement for anyone to stay and sell.

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