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REFUGIO an attempt to excite and calm the dwellers

Farrokh Rostami Kia Master of Architecture Candidate

Inner Yard in Iranian Introverted architecture; Yazd


noun a structure that provides privacy and protection from danger; a shelter from danger or hardship; a safe place.


When we have been assigned to design a Refugio for use in the cause of disaster relief, be it natural, political or otherwise the very first issue that popped up in my mind was the safety matter. An inevitable solid protection provided for these poor people against any kind disaster. I’m coming from a culture (Persia) which in ancient time has been forced to protect himself from any type of natural disaster or war. Having said that I started to study how they managed to solve this issue. In Iranian Introverted architecture people decided to live in a form of a big family or close neighbours. They built a closed form with a singular entrance into an inner yard. And from that intersection point they had an access to their own unit. This simple and brilliant form of integrity let them to control the accessing and helped to protect each other. Consequently, I decided to use this solution as a base of my design. The second factor that I was looking for was potential for quick deployment and retrieval. However, rather than addressing these needs alone, I preferred to combine them with another major fact, which I’m going to describe. While I was examining photos from these refugee camps, my very first impression was their emotional moods. Almost every person in those photos look sad and frustrated, which remind me my responsibilities as a designer for humanity. It’s easy so provide some prefabricated cubes or tents which can be replicated and installed in a blink of eye, but what the value of humanity in term of design? What about those people’s culture and roots? Thus, I decided to look from another perspective which let me to the design I’m going to present.

Iranian roof structure and design, Hafez Tomb, SHiraz

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The form is consisting of series of modular pieces repeated by rotary movement around a point located on the centre of the final form (page 4). There are two different panels in this system; a) partition panels and b) opening (connection) panels, which every user based on his need can choose to combine these two in different combinations (page 4). The main goal in this modular design is to provide the freedom to expand the base by connecting different pods together and fasten them with draw latch like joinery system at the end. However, providing this type of design will reduce the user end work load and cost (which is result of reduced transportation load). Beside the user end pros, this solution provides much efficient design format in order to make public areas for each group without sacrificing the area and cost. The main platform is lifted up in a way that ventilation will naturally happen and provide an opportunity to be deployable on any non-flat area (page 6). Having said that, user can easily align the platform horizontally by changing the legs height with simple tools. There are two secondary opening on each panel which are ETFE panels. Based on user demand these panels can be changed with other polymer based materials. From cultural point of view providing connectivity to this pods will help the society to recover as fast as its possible (with social support from neighbours) and will add to safety factor of these pods. In case of danger the system will be fully locked to prevent its habitants from outside hazards. Since the pods are connected families are able to help each other if any need occurs.

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B 13’00”

12’ 07”

10’ 12”

07’ 09” 06’ 12”



04’ 04”

02’ 03”

01’ 10” 01’ 06”

01’ 08”

00’ 12” 00’ 04” 00’ 00”

00’ 00”


Top View

West Elevation

A-A Section

B-B Section



South Elevation








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Joinery system for panels

Joinery system for pods

Modular Panels, Type B (openning pannel)

Modular Panels, Type A (partition panels) page 4











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natural ventilation

natural ventilation Due to pressure and temperature difference between inside and outside (both in unit and community scale) chimney effect accrues and let the natural ventilation exchange the air mass inside with new air from outside. In some situations, where there is no need for air circulation the top cap can be retrieved to stop the circulation. Based on this future the occupants will always have the control on their needed air or

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Profile for Farrokh Rostami Kia

Desert refugio  

Desert refugio