School for the Za'atari Refugee Camp, Jordan

Rai Studio

Principal Designer: Pouya Khazaeli

Location: Za'atari Refugee Camp, Jordan

Built by: Pilosio Building Peace and Syrian refugees from the Za'atari Refugee Camp

Project Partner: Relief International

Supported by: JHCO – Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization

Team: Luca Drigani, Pouya Khazaeli and Dario Roustayan

Total Construction Cost: 30,000 Euros

Size: 16m x 16m

These Schools for Refugee Children in Jordan are Built Using Scaffolding and Sand

Za'atari Refugee Camp, Jordan. Image Courtesy of Pilosio Building Peace

Using the ground “beneath your feet,” the Pilosio Building Peace organization, along with architect Pouya Khazaeli, have developed RE:BUILD, an incredible constructive system for building safe and comfortable structures in refugee camps. The system allows for the construction of temporary buildings of high quality through the use of wall panels formed with scaffolding and grids, which are then assembled and filled with gravel, sand or earth, creating well insulated interiors at a low cost. Although the structures can be used for hospitals, housing, and other functions on this occasion we present two schools constructed using this system in Jordan.

Technical Diagram

Description from the Architect. According to the United Nations refugee agency and Save the Children, of the current refugees, more than 1.3 million are under the age of 18. Syria’s children, both refugees and those internally displaced, desperately need access not just to basic necessities but to education as well. Many of the Syrian children have been out of school for almost three years now. And, two-thirds of school-age Syrian refugees are not getting any education.


The program made by Pilosio Building Peace is focused on making schools for them since they need not only education but also a safe place to grow up healthy and have their daytime activities.


The project has devised a basic framework for schools in refugee camps that combines natural elements like sand, typical items and accessories for construction like scaffolding tubes and, above all, the labour of the refugees themselves.


The contribution of them, also women, in assembling these very simple, quick and intuitive structures will ensure they once again feel in charge of their own destiny and future. The use of sand, the best natural insulator par excellence, a typical feature of the Syrian culture, will make the constructions economical.

The idea is to use directly the earth “beneath your feet” as the material of construction. Here it happens simply by filling in between the provided frameworks for the walls by earth. The roof panels filled by the earth may also act as flower panels to produce groceries. This simple method corresponds to the local climate as well as providing a natural life cycle that prevents the earth from pollution.