The Maidan tent
The "Maidan tent" is the contribution that Bonaventura Visconti di Modrone and Leo Bettini Oberkalmsteiner, two young architects, along with other professionals who share the same intent, want to donate to people who live in the refugee camp of Ritsona, Greece.
The "Maidan tent" is a tent designed so that people who live in the refugee camps can benefit of a public indoor space where they can socialize and share various activities. It is not a coincidence that the word Maidan, in Arabic, means square. The first move of the project is a site inspection: the architects, together with the photographer, engage in the spring of 2016 the first of a long series of trips to the Refugee camp of Ritsona, Greece.
Seven other trips have followed, to this day, during which the designers have explored and produced a statement, taking awareness of the difficult of the living conditions of the refugees. They listened to their stories, their dramatic and dangerous journeys to get to Europe and escape wars and persecutions. Talking to the refugees designers were able to realise the "migratory trauma" of men, women, elderly and children united and combined by bewilderment and pain.
In refugee camps the uncertainty and seriality of a row without end of tents and containers, along with the lack common areas, can generate alienation and disorientation compared to the protection offered by one's home and to the proximity of one's community. In these conditions, there is no space for comparison. They believe interaction helps to ease sense of loss, but a place where people can meet is needed.
Maiden tent is a possible solution. In a refugee camp it becomes very important to find stability. A public, organised common area, in which you can read, learn, play, interact and weave new friendships, can be a fundamental starting place. In this sense, a movable structure, articulated and integrated with the camp, within which it is possible to meet up and carry out activities protected by the all weather conditions, can be a valid alternative to the routine of the daily life of refugees in the camp.
The "Maidan tent", certified to ISO, is a large structure thought as, and designed to be, a covered public piazza. It is a safe multifunctional, adaptable space that can host up to 100 people. It is 19.50 meters wide and covers a surface of 200 square meters.
It has an aluminium structure covered with a water, strong wind resistant, fire proof textile. The components are standardized to allow for an easy installation and to ensure long term durability and easy transportation. It is articulated so that inside it the spaces can be easily separated in a modular way.
The covered circular space is divided into eight sectors each of which, in turn, has two concentric areas. The center of the structure, thought and designer as a meeting area, is bounded by a ring of additional semi‐private areas where people can carry out their activities in a more cosy private
atmosphere. The architects chose this shape especially because it's different from a conventional tent. Their goal is to create a public common space, not a big house, the shape has to be appropriate to respond to psychological needs, as well as procedural ones.
For this reason the structure has been designed keeping in mind some psychological aspects as for example: 1) the circular shape, that is open on all sides, invites people to enter from any the direction they come from, 2) zoning enables people to establish relationships, 3) the multifunctional space is flexible and can be adapted easily depending on the various needs.
The "Maidan tent" can be multifunctional, a space where to receive medical and psychological care, a playground for children, a gathering place where to eat together, buy and sell goods, learn and teach, pray, discuss and exchange ideas.