Leuven architects develop new tent for refugee camps


DMOA in Leuven has created a sturdy, environmentally friendly shelter designed to be used by refugees faced with extreme heat, cold and storms

Intelligent shelter

Leuven architect bureau DMOA has developed a new type of tent for refugee camps. The construction – known as Maggie – mainly serves to house schools and hospitals or to store provisions and medication.

The first prototype of the tent (pictured) currently stands on land belonging to the University of Leuven in Heverlee. It was developed with various knowledge centres, universities and government institutions.

“Maggie is a new kind of shelter, with an energy-efficiency similar to that of a passive house,” said Bart Peeters of DMOA. The tent is 20 metres long and 6m wide and can normally house up to 60 people. The walls are filled with organic material like sand and straw, or with waste. 

Through intelligent use of energy, Maggie can withstand extreme heat and cold. The temperature inside is always between 16 and 27 degrees Celsius – an asset for the conservation of medication and food. While existing tents can’t deal with wind speeds higher than 70kph, Maggie can easily withstand speeds of up to 150kph. Its longer lifetime and higher energy-efficiency will also reduce costs for aid organisations.

“We are focusing on refugees exposed to heat, freezing cold, storms and insects,” said Peeters. “We estimate there are about 18 million refugees in these situations.” Several international aid organisations already showed an interest in the tent.

Photo courtesy VRT