Berlin Architects Draw on Traditional Building Techniques for Kurdish Safe Haven | Metropolis Magazine
The project—one of several similar enterprises operated by the Berlin-based Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights—is unfolding in phases. The first, a center for animal-assisted therapy designed by Berlin studio ZRS Architekten, wrapped in late 2016, and the second, a seminar house and bakery executed completely by local builders, is nearing completion.
A primary obstacle was building trust within the community, says Salah Ahmad, founder of Jiyan. (Ahmad is a Kurdish refugee who fled the region for Germany in the ’80s.) The Healing Garden hosts 50 to 100 families per day, he adds, many of them from the nearby cities of Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah. Its popularity is attributable in no small part to the use of traditional construction: sun-dried earth bricks, straw-reinforced foundations, and a wood-beam roof and veranda reflect the region’s cultural and climatic context.