KERAKE: Arbo Shelter concept

The aim of the KERAKE project was to develop a flexible and portable housing concept for humanitarian purposes. The concept design was based on low-carbon wooden structures. Wood was chosen as construction material due to its excellent ability to capture and store carbon dioxide. In addition to that, wooden structures are favourable from the standpoint of circular economy. Living environments built of wood create warm and homelike atmosphere in circumstances where people suffer serious stress. Finally, highly processed wooden products for export will improve our national current account balance.

In the project, an actor group was formed up for developing the concept collaboratively. The group consisted of companies from different industries, like wood product companies, as well as firms specialised on energy and sanitation technologies. Special expertise on humanitarian housing and related markets was acquired as outsourced services. KERAKE project researcher went through a great deal of reports and articles of recent studies and designed several drafts and virtual models for the concept. Calculations of carbon dioxide footprint and handprint were prepared based upon the concept design.

The project resulted in a small modular housing solution to be adapted to different systems of wooden frameworks, different climate conditions and varying local circumstances. The flexible concept design enables a long lifecycle from production to housing, and further to subsequent stages of disassembling and reuse, or circulating the elements in new housing units or, for example, in school buildings. The spatial and material solutions of the concept enable independent reworking and repairing of the building in case the dwelling will be prolonged.

The international market of reconstruction sites and refugee camps in developing countries is ample, but wood building applications and solutions in these circumstances are missing.

Arbo Shelter -concept’s material and final report can be found here: 


The project is funded by: Regional Council of Ostrobothnia / EAKR, City of Seinäjoki and the University Center of Seinäjoki

The project executor: The University of Tampere/Architecture

Professor Ari Hynynen

Project manager PhD Dos Virpi Palomäki

Researcher, Architect SAFA Mari-Sohvi Miettinen

The project’s expert on Asian building and market: AGM Finland

Executive Director Heljä Brita Repo

University of Tampere
Etelä-Pohjanmaan liitto
Euroopan aluekehitysrahasto

Future’s refugee camp is a carbon neutral city

PlayHUB Refugee camp

There are estimated 20 million people in refugee camps, these camps are permanent homes for hundreds of thousands of people. It’s not irrelevant what kind of environmental impact these camps have. Ecological footprint can be reduced via architecture and building solutions. This creates a challenge to develop carbon-neutral building products and production methods.

PlayHUB is a space for the children and the young in a refugee camp: it supports their survival and cognitive abilities. PlayHUB means learning, doing together, games and digital skills. Open data belongs to everyone in global world and connects different worlds. Current partners in PlayHUB project include Ukiarkkitehdit Oy, CrossLam Kuhmo Oy, Timber Bros Oy, Design Reform Oy, Töölö and Raahe Rotaries.

AGM Play Hub Refugee Camp

“Queen Rania urges boldness and innovation in bringing new hope and dignity to refugees.” -The Jordan Times