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Fri July 19 2024

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Foster unveils new refugee camp prototype

12 Jun This year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London will feature a new design for emergency housing.

Essential Homes new prototype, featured in Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2024 © Norman Foster Foundation
Essential Homes new prototype, featured in Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2024 © Norman Foster Foundation

The Norman Foster Foundation, supported by cement producer Holcim,  will unveil a new prototype of its Essential Homes concept at the Summer Exhibition,  which starts next week and runs for two months

The Essential Homes research project was initiated to find a way of building better quality refugee camps, where quick, temporary structures have a habit of becoming permanent.

The first prototype was shown at the 2023 Venice Biennale.

The new prototype has been developed for rollout in Latin America in 2025, following a study of local housing conditions and the environment.

The Essential Homes in Latin America will be built with low-carbon, local materials, including ECOPact low-carbon concrete and ECOPlanet low carbon cement. A custom high-performance concrete will be used in the prefabricated roofs. Essential Homes are designed to be fully recyclable.

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Architect Norman Foster (Baron Foster of Thames Bank) said: “This project grew out of a workshop organised by the Norman Foster Foundation for young graduates devoted to the issues of refugee housing. Realising that a family can spend up to nearly two decades living in a tent, the scholars posed a challenge – could a more durable, permanent and dignified home be built in a few days, that would be economically viable and sustainable? The Foundation’s project team, with the support of Holcim, met this challenge with a prototype home unveiled at the 2023 Venice Biennale. This has now evolved into a row house version, offering higher standards for ultra low-cost housing – shown for the first time at this Royal Academy Summer Show.”

Holcim chief sustainability officer Nollaig Forrest said: “We are excited to be continuing our collaboration with the Norman Foster Foundation on this important project to make sustainable building possible for all.”

Sketch, featured in Royal Academy Summer Exhibition © Norman Foster Foundation
Sketch, featured in Royal Academy Summer Exhibition © Norman Foster Foundation

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition takes place in London from 18th June to 18th August 2024. Holcim and the Norman Foster Foundation will showcase sketches of the Essential Homes concept by Norman Foster, as well as physical models of the initial model and the updated prototype.

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