Hello Wood Project Village
In broad definition, the “migrant” is a person physically displaced from their home due to a variety of reasons. Escaping corruption, unemployment, poverty, conflict, war, or environmental destruction, these travelers leave behind their established communities in hope for a better, more secure life. They take many forms —expatriates, immigrants (illegal or legal), asylum-seekers, refugees, workers, pilgrims, nomads. However you choose to call it, one thing is common for all— the loss of home and all the things that come with it, a shelter, a job, a livelihood, a community.
The Migrant House proposes to challenge this phenomena of displacement through an inquiry into what defines a community center and how, through this space, one can rebuild shelter, safety, integration, economic security, and spirit. Combining the programs of PUB, CHURCH, and BORDELLO for their contrasting and potentially perverse takes on the establishment of community, the project merges a medieval European pilgrim house typology (Alms house / Ale house) with Urban-Think Tank’s ambition for dignified housing.
Our current work in Cape Town, South Africa focuses on practical strategies to alleviate a national housing crisis, while remaining embedded within community-driven processes. The proposed project for HELLO WOOD will build off of the same constraints of modular construction, community capacity building, rapid and incremental upgrading, and quick, pre-fabricated assembly and disassembly methods. The structure itself will be migrant in nature. Its ability to be transported and rapidly installed is key, and a major performative aspect of the project.
How can we imagine structures that both assemble, grow, shift, transform as the pilgrim grows and plants foundations within a new community? How can the structure build community spirit through its space and function, allowing for passing nomads and permanent residents alike to find orientation through a meeting place, a resting place, a place of integration?