Youth centre as an urban laboratory in the Sahrawi refugee camp of Smara

Beatriz Villapecellin Villanueva
Education degree
School of Design
Study programme
Spatial Design

The project focus in the Saharawi youth living in the refugee camp of Smara. The centre proposes youth retention initiatives to ensure that refugees are able to remain in the camps with a certain degree of self- sufficiency, giving them a new degree of dignity and security as well as a greater degree of control over their affairs.

The program outlines the urgent need to question assumptions regarding conditions and dynamics within the Sahrawi refugee camps, and to develop policy and programming responses accordingly. This is particularly significant given that idealized representation of life in the Sahrawi refugee camps potentially risk normalizing the status quo. 








“More than forty years have passed since the first refugees fled to Algeria and set up camps. Ever since, half of the Western Sahara´s native population has been living in refugee camps”

Atlas - From my visit to the Western Sahara Refugee camps

interior view of the center
Outdoor common space
Outdoor classroom
View of the main courtyard
Multi-functional classroom
Interior canteen
south elevation
north elevation
overall proposal
plan drawing 1.200
Roof vault construction
Pavement detail
Existing wall painting
Use of mashrabiya
Interior textiles
longitudinal Section
longitudinal Section
plan drawing in detail 1.50
In 2017-2019, KADK is working with the UN sustainable development goals
This is reflected in our research, teaching and the students’ projects. This project relates to the following UN goal(-s):
No poverty (1)
Quality education (4)
Decent work and economic growth (8)
Reduced inequalities (10)
Peace, justice and strong institutions (16)