Category Archives: Site Types

Camps: Beyond Archery and S'mores

Temporary and portable architecture are fashionable subjects. However, such projects are most often considered simply as novelties associated either with recreation or with the outsider lifestyle. On the contrary, in the real world, temporary and portable architecture are most strongly associated with necessity, emergency or traditional cultural nomadism. The following two books take the less superficial view, offering a more practical perspective on the subject.


Camps: A Guide to 21st-Century Space
? 2009: Charley Hailey

Oddly compelling, Camps: A Guide to 21st Century Space takes an almost obsessive / compulsive approach to it’s subject. An expansion of Hailey’s doctoral dissertation, the guide provides a typology of camp forms, divided into three categories: Autonomy (protest camp, peace camp, etc.), Control (immigrant camp, concentration camp, etc.) and Necessity (refugee camp, homeless camp, mass shelter camp, etc.)

Although for many of us ‘camping’ involves a temporary living condition for self amusement, Haily looks beyond the Western leisure tradition, suggesting that “Camps register the struggles, emergencies, and possibilities of global existence as no other space does.” Of the more than 100 camp types examined, fewer than 20 involve recreation of any kind. Hailey demonstrates the gravity and potential of camps as indicators of the contemporary social climate and political landscape. (2009: MIT Press; ISBN 9780262512879)

Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises
? 2006: Cameron Sinclair, ed. & Kate Stohr, ed.

Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian design services to communities in need world-wide. Since 1999, they have been challenging architects and designers to build more sustainable and socially responsible projects and have collected hundreds of proposals from design professionals around the world. Design Like You Give a Damn present the first decade of such responses to a range of global humanitarian crises. Among many fascinating examples is paraSITE, a project by Michael Rakowitz that provides ‘urban nomads’ with shelter and warmth by attaching plastic tents to building heating and ventilation exhaust ducts. (2006: Metropolis Books; ISBN 1933045256)

Camps: A Guide to 21st-Century Space: $39.95
Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises: $39.95

paraSITE by Michael Rakowitz

paraSITE by Michael Rakowitz


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