Sandbag Shelters - Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Development Network

Sandbag Shelters

Sandbag Shelters

Location: Ahwaz, Iran (Central Asia)
Architect: Cal-Earth Institute, Nader Khalili
Client: UNDP/UNHCR Tehran
Completed: 1995
Site size: 2'200 m²

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Sandbag Shelters Project Brief

Emergency housing for refugees, sponsored by UN agencies and designed by an architect at the Cal-Earth Institute. The arch-shaped adobe houses are seismically safe, impervious to weather conditions, and built using war materials. Sandbags are filled with on-site earth, arranged in layers and lined with strands of barbed wire to act as mortar. Stabilizers like cement, lime and asphalt emulsion are added to the structures, which are fired", turning the mud into a ceramic-like material. They measure 14 square metres each and, significantly, cost only $4 to construct."

2004 Award Recipients