Migrant Centre and Primary School in Lampedusa (IT)

The island of Lampedusa has been the main gateway to Europe for thousands of African and Middle-East migrants seeking asylum. Current national and international policies have aimed to deal with this phenomenon by containing the refugees in detention centres that are separated from the local community. This has led to social tension. The research project presented in this paper was driven by humanitarian considerations and informed by the seasonality of migrant arrivals and the climate of the island. The proposal is for a new migrant centre and primary school offering facilities that can be shared with the local community. The design draws upon onsite fieldwork and is informed by extensive use of computational tools for solar, thermal, daylight and airflow simulation to ensure that comfortable environmental conditions can be achieved indoors and outdoors. The accommodation is organised under an adjustable linear canopy that is open to the sky and runs along the full length of the scheme. Adjustments to the sky view of the canopy allows control of incoming solar radiation over the daily cycle as well as seasonally and offers wind protection when needed. The spaces under the canopy can host a range of outdoor and semi-outdoor activities. The construction of the scheme relies on local materials: the timber recycled from the migrants’ abandoned boats together with local stone and the posidonia collected on the island’s beaches that can be compressed to provide thermal insulation for external walls and roofs. Construction costs are estimated to be reduced by over 60% and the scheme offers opportunities to employ traditional local craftsmanship.

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