Better Shelter housing units in Kawergosk, Iraq.

A staggering 65 million forcibly displaced people around the world, over 21 million of them refugees, has pushed the the issue of shelter beyond the humanitarian sphere and into the practices of architects and designers searching for relevance. It is one of the main topics in our master program, and one which we are eager to raise awareness of through open discussions like Refugee City, taking place next week and in November.


A new exhibition on the architecture of forced displacement, “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter” aims to “[raise] questions regarding how the design and representation of shelter as a source of security and stability ultimately reflects how refugees are living in permanent upheaval today.” Featuring projects like IKEA and UNHCR’s Better Shelter and the work of architect Teddy Cruz (one of our new faculty members this year), the exhibition explores the ways in which contemporary architecture and design have addressed notions of shelter in light of global refugee emergencies.

If you can’t see it in person, you can follow the series of stories being published in parallel on the exhibition’s Medium page:

From the strengthening of international borders to the logistics of mobile housing systems, how we understand shelter is ultimately defined through an engagement with security. Refugee camps, once considered temporary settlements, have become sites through which to examine how human rights intersect with the making of cities. Bringing together projects by architects, designers, and artists, working in a range of mediums and scales, that respond to the complex circumstances brought about by forced displacement, the exhibition focuses on conditions that disrupt conventional images of the built environment.

“Insecurities,” on show from October 1 through January 22, is the first show by the museum’s newest architecture curator, Sean Anderson. The exhibit is part of “Citizens and Borders,” a series of projects using the museum’s permanent collection to examine territories, migration, and borders.

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