Planning and Building Wooden Houses with, and for, Refugees and Residents


In this paper we present the project “Building as Integration” by the students of HTL Rankweil (higher level secondary technical and vocational college). The project was initiated to help the integration of young refugees and immigrants in the most western part of Austria called Vorarlberg. Throughout the course of this project, a construction engineering class with 30 students wants to put their theoretical knowledge to a practical use and pass it on to the refugees. These 30 students are divided into ten teams, each mentoring one refugee. The aim of the project is the construction of residential timber houses for refugees as well as residents. Under actual conditions, planning processes for affordable social housing are going to be implemented and consequently the completion of the first house for unaccompanied underage refugees is projected for next year. Alongside experts in construction engineering, timber construction, carpentry, electrical engineering and installation technology, all of which can all be found at HTL Rankweil, also the input from linguists, translators, communication and cultural experts will be vital. The neighbouring schools will contribute knowledge on the subjects of kitchen gardening, domestic management and cooking. The first wooden house is scheduled for in-school-construction in 2016. Realising the project requires communication and teamwork between students and refugees as well as collaboration in searching for solutions. The project is backed by teachers as well as various local institutions such as the diocese, parishes, the State of Vorarlberg, municipalities as well as building societies in cooperation with Vorarlberg timber craftsmen.

Author Information
Catalina Burtscher, Vorarlberg University, Austria
Andreas Postner, Vorarlberg University, Austria
Thomas Fink, Vorarlberg University, Austria
Konrad Duelli, Vorarlberg University, Austria
Herman Kaufmann, Vorarlberg University, Austria

Paper Information
Conference: ECTC2016
Stream: Future Classrooms

This paper is part of the ECTC2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon