Each year, there are a lot of emergency situations which kill millions of people and create millions of evacuees. Consequently, the need to help these people is essential. The main and primordial action for these situations is to find protection and shelter. The first thing that is used as refuge, since the beginning of times, as Laugier states, is nature, trees. “The scorching heat of the sun forces him to look for a shelter. A nearby forest draws him to its cooling shade; he runs to find a refuge in its depth, and there, he is content.” In fact, nowadays in Africa this is also very common; trees are places of refuge in which a lot of different activities take place: trade, education, leisure, meetings…

Nevertheless, there are many situations in which trees do not constitute enough shelter. Then and thus the fore- most action is to build a simple structure, a roof, and cover it in order to protect it from light and water. Therefore, the idea of the project is to create an Emergency Operation Center by simply building a roof, a shelter for the people. This roof is made up of a modular squared structure, which simplifies, facilitates and accelerates its construction. This concept, as well as the aim and the nature of the project, is perfectly represented by one African symbol: Eban, which means love, security and protection. This symbol is, indeed, a simple modular structure that protects a specific area.

This modular structure, like the Eban symbol, can be repeated numerous times and distributed in countless different ways. The above mentioned module is only built with wooden bars, from local trees, due to the benefits of being a natural and local material. This wooden bars have different lengths in order to work and build columns, beams, plinths, floors…

This wooden structure is covered, woven, with fabric, in order to protect the building from the sun and the rain. This fabrics can be either brand new or clothes, carpets, blankets… which can be sewed together and reused. Furthermore, fabric is very important in Africa’s culture: in fact, its colours and symbols have different meanings, there is a fabric language, therefore, fabric speak for itself and is a cultural identity on its own.

Regarding the vertical divisions, these are also solved by creating a sub-structure with wooden bars between columns and woven them with braided fabric. This simple method allows to have different spaces, and being versa- tile, as this divisions can be placed anywhere in the columns grid. This flexibility of modules and vertical divisions makes the proposal totally flexible and adaptable to any type of need and requirements. In order to protect this closed spaces from the rain, the fabric of the walls and the roof above them is treated with clay from the surroundings, making them impermeable.

credits

architects: Marta Molins Laín, Jorge Abad Martínez, Diego Catena Nieto, Claudia Gadea Milian  |  client: Kaira Looro  |  status: Competition (2020)  |  clasification: finalist  |  location: Undefined  |  climate: Desert / arid, Hot  |  material: wood  |  environment: Undeveloped  |  visualizer: Studio  |  budget: 28.000 €  |  scale: 500 m2 small  |  ratio: 56,00 €/m2  |  types: healthcare, medical center  |  views: 1.600