21 December 2020 – A newly published book Turkana Houses describes how UN-Habitat  worked with the renowned Japanese Architect, Shigeru Ban to create various prototypes of shelters for refugees and host community members in north east Kenya.

The book describes how Mr Ban, a renowned architect and winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize constructed 14 houses in the Kalobeyei Settlement, Turkana after testing seven housing types in the settlement.  This was the result of a two year collaboration between UN-Habitat, Mr Ban and his NGO the Voluntary Architects Network (VAN), to design sustainable shelter typologies. Mr Ban is known for his innovative work with paper and has pioneered the use of recycled cardboard tubes to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims.

The first part of the book is a journal by Philippe Monteil, Shigeru Ban’s partner for the mission. It describes successes and failures with building pilot houses. The second part is Mr Monteil’s visual interpretation of that process, a detailed Manual which explains in a sequence of steps, how to build the final housing prototype. between an architect, refugees and Turkana people, brought together through the act of building.

Kalobeyei New Settlement was established in Turkana County in 2015 and  UN-Habitat was tasked with designing an Advisory Development Plan for the settlement, to accommodate 60,000 people – both refugees and host community members. UN-Habitat has built 14 houses, which include several typologies and one pilot neighbourhood funded by the Government of Japan.

The link to UN-Habitat’s Humanitarian-Development work stream and additional resources can be found here: https://unhabitat.org/programme/planning-for-humanitarian-development-practice-connecting-normative-to-operations