Exhibited RHU in Warsaw repurposed as workshop space for Ukrainian children

From August 4-7 2022, Better Shelter participated in the Architecture Festival hosted by the Warsaw Branch of the Association of Polish Architects, concluding the Plans for the Future | LAB in Warsaw, Poland.

The theme of the festival centered around the innovative ways designers, architects, urban planners and engineers are using design to confront the most pressing challenges in our world today.

An RHU was put on exhibition at the Association’s headquarters, where guests were given the rare opportunity to see and experience the RHU outside of its regular humanitarian mission.

The outcome of the festival, which also included panel discussions, opened critical discourse on the impact of design, with positive remarks made by Magda Maciag, Member of the Warsaw Branch of the Association of Polish Architects.

“During our event, Better Shelter was one of the most beautiful, tangible pieces of evidence that architectural interventions can improve the quality of human life when facing an emergency.”

Magda Maciag

Immediately following the closure of the festival, the exhibited RHU was repurposed as a garden and play-friendly space for Ukrainian refugee children, where art and learning workshops were held for their respite.

Children are entertained by the child-friendly furniture and toys in the RHU that was repurposed to host art and learning workshops following the closure of the Architecture Festival in Warsaw. ©Marcin Gilert

“For these children, who live far from their homes, it has become a small house of happiness, fun, and carefree holidays.”

Magda Maciag

Some 7.2 million refugees from Ukraine were accounted in neighbouring countries in eastern and central Europe, having fled the conflict that began in early 2022. It is estimated that there are between 15 million – 2 million Ukrainian refugees currently residing in Poland, including 1.2 million who have registered for protection.

The entrance to the exhibited RHU at the headquarters of the Warsaw Branch of the Polish Association of Architects. ©Iwona Dziuk

“We have a lot of discussions on the role of architects today in the context of the war in Ukraine, which is taking place just outside of our border. This is why Better Shelter became a helpful tool and an example for our discussions.”

Magda Maciag

Magda Maciag (pictured centre) spoke of her enthusiasm at the outcome of the Architecture Festival in Warsaw, Poland. ©Iwona Dziuk