Emergency Housing in Romania:

Adapted or Specifically Designed

by

Miruna Moldovan

Keywords

  • emergency housing
  • mass-housing
  • modular units
  • housing typologies
  • Romania

This paper proposes a compared architectural discussion between two typical situations regarding emergency housing in Romania, where these units are legally classified as “necessity housing” [locuințe de necesitate] and are managed by the local public authorities. There are two typical situations in which local authorities set up emergency housing. In the first situation, which is addressed in the first case study, emergency housing can be found in units belonging to existing large mass-housing complexes built during the socialist period. These initially address different users (housing for young single individuals, housing for the working class etc.). In the second situation, the public authorities have chosen to build modular units, either made out of containers or other prefabricated components, with the well-defined purpose of emergency housing.

These two typical emergency housing situations are analyzed comparatively in terms of urban context, architectural qualities, duration of use, as well as aspects related to the social life of their inhabitants. This analysis aims to discover in each situation how flexibility and adaptability are provided and which of the two is more proficient in assuring a quick and adequate shelter. Whatever the case, it is mandatory to notice whether these emergency housing solutions can provide the neutral architectural framework for space appropriation or personalization, allowing its users to create a home, even if temporarily. Therefore, this analysis aims to provide a better understanding of the versatility of emergency housing, focusing on two Romanian cases, illustrative for the two situations – adapted buildings and specifically designed emergency housing.