The Eighteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2016
Berkeley Prize 2016

Nadia Asali Proposal

DesignBuild : Community Spaces with Refugees in Berlin

“Abandoning the strategy of convincing the whole world of the refugees’ misery through their architectural misery “ Sandi Hillal

Participating in this year’s topic about Homelessness, has enriched my knowledge about what Palestinians face daily in refugee camps and how much architecture is an active player that is necessary to revive hope in these hopeless places .

Through investigating about the application of efficient/low cost architecture in Shu’afat refugee camp and the positive impact it has on the residents of the camp I became more interested in this kind of architecture . For building a single school has helped hundreds of students to finally find a peaceful place in a very violent atmosphere they are being forced to live by the occupation. I found it intriguing how the architecture that seeks solutions to enhance the living conditions of the poor and homeless can make a change , how the architecture that cares about housing the hope and aspirations of the homeless and the disadvantaged can save a nation.

Today there is a lot of interest in steel structure , high maintenance architecture that costs a lot , but little attention is given to architecture for the poor , especially these days where the number of refugees are alarmingly increasing worldwide , where people are being forced to leave everything behind and seek refuge in a tent , a tent that gradually will no longer be a reasonable solution to provide a dignified kind of shelter for the homeless . Thus low cost architecture must become the norm , the architecture that explores the social and cultural aspects of a nation and provides solutions with a clear time frame and ability to execute easily with a limited budget .

As a Palestinian living in East Jerusalem I was able to observe and see one of the largest Palestinian refugee camps, that still requires a lot of innovative ideas and initiatives to aid its people . Thus I propose to participate in a course that can help me further my understanding of low cost/efficient architecture. I propose to participate in the design build summer course in the Technical university of Berlin (TU Berlin) . The learning goals of the course is the ability to develop a project with high quality design and performance with a small budget and restricted time . The course will provide the ability to build a project from the design stage to the usable tangible project with the help and supervision of TU Berlin lecturers to satisfy the needs and requirements of refugees living today in Berlin .

The Design Build project starts in 25 July and ends in 18 August ( 4 weeks) . The project will develop in five systematic strategic phases , it will start with learning about the context and developing the task , then I will explore the ability to design a spatial concept for the context along with Berlin refugees , after that learn to develop a feasible appropriate execution strategy of time frame, budget and material and finally build the developed design on site along with Berlin refugees .

I truly believe that this course will enrich my knowledge and experience about how to design and execute low cost/efficient architecture that can be a further step to aid refugees to get past their tragedy and misery and provide them with the hope they need to seek a better future for themselves

More information about the objectives of the course and goals:

The syllabus of the course :

Contact :


Location: TU Berlin Duration: 25 July – 18 August Course fee : 2063$ (includes the course fee + transportation ticket+ extracurricular activities) Accommodation: 1000$ (a single bedroom in Aletto Hostel , including breakfast for the duration of the stay) Plain Ticket : 572 $ Air Berlin ( Sum = 3635$

Self-Financed: Pocket Money = 500$ Visa fee = 90$ Sum = 590$

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