Project Nomad


Low cost emergency living for refugees
Housing design / Architectural study

The Nomad Shelter provides low cost modular housing made of inexpensive materials. The shelters can connect and form communities, keeping refugees’ sense of family and community intact during an otherwise difficult time.

11 Million

Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011


$125 million

Amount American Red Cross spent in 2010 on internal expenses

40 Million

People left displaced or homeless from natural disasters in 2009

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 1.39.04 PM.png

User: Meet Jana

Jana is a 22 year old Syrian Refugee. She lives in a refugee camp just outside of Jordan.

She and her family were displaced during political unrest. Jana does not consider this to be a permanent move; only a temporary displacement. She intends to go back to school and finish her education once it is over.

Unique Pain Points

  • Need for increased social interaction
  • Water, bathrooms, and food are often too far away
  • Must provide dignity; refugees are not a burden
  • Houses and shelters must be durable, but termporary
  • Children often play during day without supervision

Day in the Life

6 am - Walk to get bread (25 minute walk, 20 in line)

7 am - Put away and fold bed and mattresses. Need more space in shelter for living..

7:15 am - Shower using a cold bucket of water behind the tent. Only get shower 2 times a week, need to hurry because people are waiting

7:30 am - brush hair and talk with her family

8 am - feed her youngest brother, 3, while eating breakfast

8:40 am - fetch water (need to fext watch 6 times a day). She is sore from carrying heavy buckets.

9 am - wash dishes behind tent. no hot water. dish- washing is done in a plastic bucket. they are never completely clean - always still a bit of sand.

10 am - take children out to play

11 am - walk 30 minutes to buy food using food vouchers (there is no refrigeration)

12:30 pm - cook lunch at the communal camp kitchen with 16 stoves. she must wait in line to cook, after carrying the ingredients from her tent to the kitchen, and then carry back after done cooking.

2:30 pm - eat lunch. they only get to eat meat on fridays.

3:30 pm talk with relatives who also live in the camp. walk around and socialize with neighbors

5:30 pm - rare, short break between the many trips to get water.

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 1.35.39 PM.png

  • Solar panels can fold downward at night to trap head and provide warmth
  • Top panel closes when not used for optimal parabolic solar cooking
  • Thin, strong beams allow for hanging of lamps or drying laundry
Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 1.47.02 PM.png
  • Approximately 7 to 8 feet vertical clearance
  • Entrances between family units may be opened or closed
Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 1.47.23 PM.png
  • Gas & water travel through tubes fed into single family units
  • Communal cooking space in center dissipates excess heat into shelters
  • Water tank stores 6116.43 liters of water per multi family cluster
  • (203 piters per person, UN requires at least 20 liters per person per day)

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 1.51.29 PM.png
Brian XiaoComment