A House and Seven Doors

School of Design | Interior Design •
Student | Yasmeen Abdal •

A house and seven doors is an Arabic proverb used to describe the longstanding tradition of hospitality and generosity as a part of the fabric of Arab society. Notions of family in the middle east go beyond your direct bloodline but to your neighbors and to your cousin that isn’t really your cousin. Hospitality in Arab culture is irrespective of class, ethnicity, or nationality but it manifests in a way that creates extensions of the family. This project seeks to create a similar sense of community for the refugee community in Lebanon. The Arab spring began in early 2010 and was led by a series of anti-government protests in response to the oppressive regimes and low standards of living. Syria was one of the countries that erupted in protest in 2011 and to this day is facing an ongoing war resulting in the largest refugee and displacement crisis of our era. The protests strived for political freedom and called for the demolition of the political elite, however, progressed into a civil war within the country as there was a multitude of disputed opinions. The process of seeking refuge in neighboring countries left families to struggle financially due to stigma, discrimination, and lack of credentials. The existing refugee shelters are designed as temporary housing leaving them in poor conditions and also unable to accommodate overcrowding. The refugee crisis forced families out of their countries, if families do survive they usually struggle financially due to stigma and discrimination, and lack of credentials. The process of seeking refuge in neighboring countries leaves individuals in a gray area where they remain stateless and lack any form of growth and opportunity to move forward. My project focuses on cultivating a community out of modular extensions for the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. The project seeks to transform the current state of refugee camps to create long-term and effective communities to create a new sense of belonging. The containers are also used to create community facilities such as learning centers, laundry facilities as well as a chance to be self-employed in a cooperative where individuals are able to make a surplus by choosing to sell and produce their own items. The camp is self-adjusting in the sense that people together as a collective are able to produce a network of relationships beyond just living but also self employing and constantly readjusting based on the needs of the evolving community.