Unité dans la diversité - A tower for Urban Refugees

Unité dans la diversité (United in our diversity) We have created a conceptual proposal, in reaction to the current refugee crisis as well as the recent events in the USA. We are seeking to create a tower for peace, for tolerance, for friendship, for love, for nostalgia, for remembrance, for nurture and for growth..

atelier aitken tower for refugees axo diagram

a tower for refugees

Approximately 60% of refugees live in cities, not camps….in cities, refugees often face hard conditions and have their basic rights denied. Depending on what country they have re-settled in, there can be many barriers that they face in starting a new life. We see this tower as a typology that could be adapted and located in other cities around the world. The landscapes may be different and the overall size of the building too but the general programme remains similar in nature.

a tower for humanity – for peace and unity

We see this tower as a symbolic of the natural altruistic nature of people… a shared desire for peace and happiness… a sense of unity to ease the sense of fear… we would like it to be symbolically located near Trump’s tower in opposition to his fear mongering and instead spread a message of acceptance, tolerance, humanity and love. 

a tower for nostalgia for lost homelands

We want to create a place where displaced persons, refugees, may come to remember their homeland, before it became war torn and terrifying. We wish to create beautiful open landscapes where they can come to relax, pray, communicate with their family in other places around the world. The landscape zones would have free wi-fi and communication facilities as well as commercial kitchen facilities and so on sensitively integrated for market days. Their may be memorial elements integrated here also.

a tower for awareness and remembrance

The tower hopes to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and not only raise money for refugees worldwide but also to increase our tolerance and acceptance of diversity. For this tower, located in New York, the public may take the express elevator to the top where there is an interactive signal tower that digitally shows data such as the movement of refugees worldwide. The public can also input their own messages here. There will be a museum space for visitors to see what is happening in the various conflict zones worldwide and also regarding the movement and state of refuges worldwide. The landscapes for this proposed tower have been digitally extracted from actual landscapes from the countries where the highest number of refugees come to the United States of America. Visitors to the tower will be able to buy authentic wares and food from the shops and markets run by the refugees.

a tower for education and livelihood

This tower will be a place where refugees can learn new skills for their new home. We also hope to teach refugees skills, such as coding and teaching skills to enable them to help create programmes to educate refugees in developing countries in ways that are relevant to them. Within the tower we hope to create profitable employment for refugees, as a start up job when they first come to the country such as cooking and selling food at the markets. Immersive language training will be freely available along with translation services. There will also be a manufacturing part, with the latest technology such as 3d printers where they can produce wares to be sold. It is hoped that these towers become both enjoyable and profitable enterprises both to run the facility and also help provide funding resettlement costs for refugees into their neighbouring countries – which is often the better option.

a tower for the future – sustainability and technology

Technology is developing so rapidly there are so many creative ways one can use it in the built environment. We propose that the large open spaces will bring in natural ventilation to each zone of the building as well as harness energy through solar cells integrated into the open landscapes and sections of the facade.

Visually, the general façade pattern has been conceptually extracted from the strata from the refugee’s homelands. We propose that up close, this strata will actually be created from homeland images.  The main façade will have a fine screen made of moveable metal panels that open and close to create shading as required. There would be a library of imagery, related to the refugee homelands, that will be selected automatically in a ‘pixelated’ format. The image selected will depend on the amount of shading required. The reflective nature of the panels means that the solid aspects of the building will also reflect the surroundings of their location, connecting it to the new place, while the voids will clearly represent the originating homelands.

atelier aitken tower for refugees