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Phase One | Knowledge

In phase one, we focused mainly on gaining and sharing knowledge about architectural recovery and to design possible solutions under the guidance of experts and specialists from various disciplines. For this, we organized a workshop week from 20-24 March.
The outcome of this workshop week were 60 students designing 12 concept designs under the guidance of 10 lecturers, 20 experts and 5 firms. (Completed)


After witnessing the devastating effects of natural disasters, the founders of START, Meriç Kessaf, Leyla van der Waarde, and Meriam Sehimi, were inspired to take action. Their shared passion for humanitarian architecture led them to create an initiative dedicated to finding urgent solutions for long-term humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of natural disasters. 

By combining architectural techniques and knowledge from various fields, START aims to create practical and realistic solutions for those impacted by natural disasters. Over the last few months, the group has grown to forty students, including architectural engineering, earth sciences, psychology, civil engineering, and more experts. START takes a collaborative approach, leveraging the knowledge and expertise of its members across different fields. 

START organised a workshop week to kick off the initiative, where students, experts, and professors worked together to create possible solutions. The workshop featured various lectures on different topics, and the interdisciplinary groups created concept designs. The workshop concluded with eleven impressive designs with multiple approaches currently being analysed and developed further. START is also building connections with local stakeholders to obtain support for the initiative. Through its innovative and collaborative approach, START significantly impacts the lives of those affected by natural disasters.

The workshop week

Concept Designs


In this part of the website, the outcomes of the Syrian Turkish Disaster Relief Workshop, from 20-24 March are presented. During the workshop, a large group of students, from different disciplines, under the guidance of experts, specialists, and tutors, worked on a possible architectural solution for the earthquake zone in Turkey and Syria.

These projects are intended for inspirational use only and may not be shared with anyone else without our prior written consent. Any unauthorized use or disclosure of these projects may result in legal action. You agree not to copy, distribute, or disclose any part of these projects to any third party, except as expressly authorized by us in writing.

Earthquake City Rehabilitation Strategy

Our proposal is a long-term strategy for rehabilitating an earthquake-struck city, in response to the place attachment and memory that would eventually lead displaced people to return “home”. The strategy was developed with Antakya, as a starting point for us to understand the complexities of what would be involved. However, by providing options and advocating for interaction between the Government, NGOs, local communities, and university students (among others), it is ultimately a general strategy that can be applied in various places.

Mustafa, Nada, Yasir, Yi

Community Squares

This project is based on two main ambitions. We want to facilitate the people/professionals that must get in contact with the survivors of the disaster. The second one is that we want to give something back to those people who lost everything. We want to do this is by planning a way of getting their community in a very short time period.

Esra Ipek, Martin Lejewaan, Alkiviadis Oikonomidis, Akashat Kazana


Our solution focuses on the recovery period after an earthquake, using traditional materials from the region incorporated with modern solutions to create a structure that can serve the survivors and allows for further innovation regarding the Himis. The time frame considers a short-term solution that could also be used as a long-term option to be used inside refugee camps and as a reinvented building method.

The materials used are from the region, focusing on (black) pine wood to make the wooden trusses that can be filled with natural sones, reused bricks and mud bricks and binding them with lime mortar mud mortar, focusing on easy-to-reach fill-in materials. This building method also allows replacing materials when needed and adding insulation as a second step to make these shelters thermally comfortable.

Simon Sit, Saja Al Khamissi, Mucahid Tanrioven, Defne Tuga

Building the Future with the Past

“Building the Future with the Past” takes advantage of the opportunity to reuse the waste and demolished materials on site. Using these materials reduces the cost of waste of removal and landfill, the cost of buying new goods and materials, and minimizes the environmental impact of transportation. In addition, the identity and collective memory of the city could be preserved via reclaimed materials. We first identified frequently occurring components within the debris, for instance, concrete blocks, roof tiles, metal cladding, and wooden frames from doors and windows. The presence of hazardous elements such as asbestos in the debris remains a danger, and we propose guidelines for the safe handling of debris.

Magnolia Communities

The 2023 Türkiye-Syria earthquake was the most deadly and destructive in the region’s modern history. In response to the resultant population displacement, Magnolia seeks to restore individual dignity through community-centric urban planning. By offering hope during these crises, people can flourish when planted in new circumstances.

Mandana Bergman, Younes Chergui, Hasan Hashas, Anass Karaiouh, Jonathan Kaye, Raneem Musallab, Meriam Sehimi

Rebuilding Antakya

With this project we have attempted to conjure an idea for the imminent crisis happening in the south-east of Turkey and north of Syria in regards to the earthquakes removing many families from their homes. Taking the heavy-hit city of Antakya as a contextual case study, we have investigated an option of a long-term temporary neighbourhood. This would be organized in a destroyed or al- ready empty plot within the city. A smart designed modular unit would by itself function as a home, but put together can be expanded to the many functions desired, as would in an actual functioning neighbourhood. The different functions with their different sizes can be then clustered to generate the necessary privacy or brings together people which are left by themselves after the earthqua- kes took away their family. The proposed clustering plan is carefully set up to accommodate for this, while mirroring the existing street layout of the inner city of Antakya.

Tijs van der Eng, Lise Sarda, Farrah Jacobs, Takehito Yuki, Rens van Poppel

(Shelter) Town

Shelters are usually only intended as temporary solutions, whereas the reality is that they can become long-term homes. Changing the perception of shelters from temporary to long-term dwellings can provide hope, purpose and opportunities, such as developing a self-sufficient town from the shelter. The process of developing a self-sufficient town starts with building a communal centre that serves as a hub for seeking and offering help while the transformation is supervised. By involving the community from the beginning and viewing the transformation as a collaborative effort, trust can be restored in the construction process. As temporary shelters expand into multi-story earthquake-proof houses, the number of temporary shelters can gradually decrease. Installing infrastructure such as electricity, water pipes, and sewage systems can help complete the transition to a fully functional town. By working together with the local community and supervising the development, shelters can become permanent homes.

Bart Koppejan, Eveline Scheffel, Vanessa Heider, Iman Mustafa, Dost Sahingoz


In light of this tragedy, we would like to propose a step-by-step design approach that can help rebuild the area and support the people of the region. The concept‚ ‘PARTICIPATION INTERACTION RECOVERY‘‘ involves working with the people in the affected region to create com- munities that can rebuild their own homes using their own re- sources and materials from the region. Our plan is focused on a medium to long term timeframe that is adaptable to the region‘s conditions, earthquake resistant, based on com- munity needs and ultimately cost effective and sustainable.

For our approach, we have developed a reconstruction pro- gramme that consists of two tracks that develop in parallel: 1. community development 2. development of the built environment.

Jacky Lai Olivia Nguyen Anas Abbasi Annika MayeR

Place-making to vitalize existing camps

Lots of locals have to live in refugee camp due to immediate lost of houses after the earthquake. They have to stay in the refugee camp for months to years, until their houses are recovered or new housing options are provided for them. However, the condition of exisitng refugee camps is very poor. Refugees suffer from physical and mental health due to the poor living environment. Moreover, the changing circumstances, such as movement of refugees and need of houses, can make a top-down planning in the camp unrealistic. Instead of applying new architectur- al visions and solutions which take time to develop, this idea aims to provide immediate support to refugee camp through place-making. This is done by adopting a workshop and storage space to provide local, recycled and donat- ed materials, and to create programme and activities by producing flexible., reusable and quick-assembled struc- ture. The key of this scheme is to observe the different changing left-over spaces generated within the camp, and to provide facilities to the spaces accordingly.



The awareness around the devastating earthquake is slowly fading away. To let the people think about what has happened will tis ‘House of One’ serve as a monument in the area. The area that has been affected is known for the diversity of people. Different back- grounds and religions live all together. In a world that is more and more polarizing, what if there is an architectural building that brings the 3 biggest monotheistic religions together and actively encourages dialogue?

Ahmed Emin Batman