Maria Makhlouf

Beyond Temporary: Adaptive reuse of shipping containers as post-disaster housing units in Lebanon

Lebanon is a country where political unrest and explosions are an ongoing occurrence, and because of that, the economy witnessed a great recession. In addition to that, the influx of refugees increased, with the problems reaching their peak on August 4th when Beirut’s port witnessed a massive explosion, creating a housing crisis. Consequently, the need for temporary shelters became a vital interest in the country’s recovery scheme. These challenges have shed light on the unsustainable response and administration of the government. The aftermath of the blast has created an opportunity to create a disaster mitigative response scheme that can be used as a catalyst to enhance the city’s urban configuration, growth, and aids in sheltering both the displaced citizens, increased haphazard population growth, and refugees. This design project aims to focus on the application and design of a new modular prototype that is quick to construct, low-cost, and sustainable temporary shelter unit, utilising up-cycled shipping containers abandoned on Beirut’s port. This paper will investigate the future climate adaption and thermal performance of the carbon-smart modular shelter under the climatic conditions of two locations: Beirut, Lebanon’s capital that is vulnerable to ongoing disasters, and Bar Elias, the location of Syrian refugee informal settlements while catering for the needs of their future occupants. This prototype will be evaluated based on analytical assessments of its performance using parametric tools that will include solar studies, daylight analysis, and thermal performance of the temporary shelter unit, to be compared to the conventional shipping container. As an output of the future climatic projects of both locations highlight, several passive and environmental design guidelines for building a temporary shelter unit from up-cycled and recycled materials are proposed.

Keywords: emergency shelter units, disaster relief scheme, upcycling shipping containers, post-disaster, refugee shelter units.