Eudaimonia Souk

Za’atari Refugee Camp Marketplace Competition | Za’atari Village, Jordan

In collaboration with: Andrea T.F Ng, Peter Rudd, Caroline Spigelski

Top 10 Finalist (http://www.idevelopment.us/results/)

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“The taste of salt is in my memory
It’s between the street and the house
All roads
Lead to heaven”

– Hala Mohammad To the Homeland

Overview

Za’atari camp in northern Jordan is home to 80,000 refugees from the Syrian war. The effects of war, displacement, economic, physical, and mental health insecurity, and lack of business regulation create extreme stresses within the community. Additionally, the semi-arid environment, lack of water, poor soil, unavailability of resources and equipment compound the difficulty of living in the camp.

Perhaps the most significant hardship is the exclusion of vulnerable members from participating in the marketplace and food production – and this is the primary impetus for this proposal. We propose a new market for all Za’atari Camp residents that breaks through the hardship of exclusion and inducts the vulnerable into the marketplace by giving them pride of place, food sovereignty, and food security. The ancient Greeks believed in the philosophy of eudaimonia or “thriving” as a standard for good living.

We propose a thriving market or Eudaimonia Souk with permaculture gardens, a training centre and vendor stalls, managed and operated by the Za’atari refugee camp community. The Eudaimonia Souk is based on the interdependence of household gardens, and central and district Souk gardens; it’s training centre builds valuable market knowledge and community cohesion. The Souk will help refugees to transcend merely meeting basic life needs by restoring dignity, well-being and flourishing.

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The central passage’s high canopy roof lets light in while blocking the heat of the sun and letting hot air escape. The colonnades keep the perimeter of the courts and storefronts cool. Rainwater is collected from the vaulted, flat and pitched roofs and piped to grey water tanks for use in the permaculture garden. The vaulted masonry roofs are vented to make a cooling flow of air over the heads of the vendors and shoppers. The permaculture planting garden is irrigated from adjacent wicking beds.

The permaculture courtyard is flanked on the north and south by colonnade and porch respectively to provide cooling shade. Rainwater is collected from the vaulted roof and piped to grey water tanks for use in the permaculture garden. Local fruit trees have wide canopies and are ideal for providing shade for the vegetable planting bed below. The permaculture planting beds are fed with water from wicking beds.

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  1. Flanked by colonnades on three sides and by a large porch in front of the community centre, the Souk’s main courtyard is a flexible space for commerce, events and festivals, business meetings, and drinking tea with friends at a cafe table. The courtyard’s scale and detail exemplify the tradition of Syrian public space.
  2. A high translucent roof gives rain protection and dappled light for the Souk’s main commercial street or ‘passage.’ Shops are 3m square with variable furniture and fittings and have shutters which close for security at night. The passage’s form and detail invoke the ancient tradition of the Syrian Souk.
  3. Shaded by a porch and colonnade, and flanked on one side by shops, the permaculture garden is an intimate space for learning about plants, farming, and business. The garden is intended to be used for multiple activities including shopping, gardening, learning and relaxing with family and friends.
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  1. Energy Supply Management: solar panels collect energy which is stored in batteries in dedicated rooms and which powers lights in the passage, community hall, training center, colonnades and shops. Supplemental energy is taken from the municipal electric grid as required. A generator is used for backup during power outages.
  2. Cellular Hotspot: the Za’atari Camp internet provider services the market and strategically places routers and boosters to create a hot spot for purchasing goods through the ‘Souk app’ and for the training centre. This in turn will create traffic, boost sales and enhance social cohesion.
  3. Water Supply Management: fresh water is piped from camp boreholes to camp water towers to the Souk’s water tanks. Grey water is harvested from all of the Souk’s roofs and the plaza decks, and piped to tanks for purification and redistribution to shared courtyard spigots, the permaculture garden, and latrine sinks.
  4. Recycling + Sanitation Flow: vegetable waste and solid latrine waste is composted for use in permaculture beds. All other Souk waste is separated and recycled.
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Construction

As a counterpoint to the temporary landscape of caravans, we propose a combination of materials and building systems that evoke the traditional forms and sustainable techniques of Syrian cities and towns.

The Souk is constructed according to principles of familiarity, availability, and scalability. We propose a version of traditional vault architecture using a compressed block technique (e.g. Hydraform Interlocking Soil Block) which is made from laterite soil, a small percentage of cement and water, and is hydraulically compressed to form a high quality building material. This earth construction makes comfortable interior environments due to its excellent thermal and acoustic insulating properties. It is also durable and modular.

While we propose that the optimal material for the 3.0 m market stall is earth architecture, the Souk has been designed to facilitate substitutions as required by the budget, material availability, and government restrictions. Alternative options include: 1. traditional earth architecture and 2. shipping containers.

Construction methods and materials are deliberately chosen to be viable and sustainable. Construction is phased so that the conference room, for example, can provide shelter for block production. Besides the locally sourced laterite soil, a significant portion of materials specified are recycled and/or recyclable. For example, we propose using galvanized iron sheets for some roofs and rebar woven with a combination of loose materials, such as palm reeds, plastic or fabric for security enclosures. Following is a list of methods and materials:

  1. Vaulted shop module
  2. Compressed block (Hydraform) making
  3. Recycled rebar and palm reed screens produced by Women’s Craft Group
  4. Recycled roofing material
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Software: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Rhino 5 + Vray