Chaos to Clarity

Erika Britton

Degree(s): BA, Pyschology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This project provides services and temporary housing for refugees in Calais, France. The site, a former industrial garage and loading dock, is located on the edge of Calais, and most recently it has been home to refugee squatters. Through re-purposing the site, I aim to ameliorate the refugee crisis in Calais and to shift the negative social construct of “refugee” to create a more accepting environment within Calais and the rest of the EU.

        According to Human Rights Watch, Europe’s refugee crisis is instilling in EU citizens frustration, paranoia, and a fear of different cultures, leaving them unable to see the significance of the refugees’ needs. This humanitarian dilemma inspired my design concept, which is to unify these groups within the space. The structural composition is meant to harmonize the relationships of the EU residents and refugees to create a community. Movable felt screens allow for flexible space utilization, and variations in the screens' perforations denote varying levels of privacy between programs.

          I combined materials native to the refugee’s home countries with materials local to Calais, mirroring the communal goals of the center while creating a sense of comfort for refugees entering an unfamiliar environment. These materials include concrete, ceramic tiles, cork, and wood for large structural elements, and mosaic tiles and rammed earth artwork for smaller design elements. Color is used in the space to depict the transition from chaos to clarity, gradually changing from dark to light as refugees move through the various programs.

          Faculty for the project:Kevin Estrada