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Access Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



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Over the past fifty years, civil war has held a relentless grip on Colombia. Aside from the staggering numbers of casualties that have resulted, millions have been internally displaced and unwilling to return home. Many are fleeing from forced military recruitment of youths, sexual violence, kidnapping and murder. After Syria, Colombia has one of the highest populations of Internally Displaced People (IDP): 5,841,040, as of December 2015. It is unknown how many more refugees are not officially registered[1]. The majority of the IDP population migrates from rural villages and towns to large cities, such as Bogotá and Medellín, where there are opportunities for safety, income and improvised shelter.[2]

Referencing existing models for Colombian housing and shelter for IDPs and street kids, this research examines the needs of the displaced population and creates a set of criteria for a long-term, integrative housing solution. This thesis focuses on internally displaced youths and women in the Southern-Pacific region of Colombia, as they make up the largest portion of registered IDPs and refugees in Colombia.[3] The goal of the project is to design the user’s progression through a system of increasingly supportive levels: “Entrance to the shelter,” “Full-time residence,” “Reintegration to society.” The site and program encourage commensalism, or relationship where one part benefits from the other without causing harm, with the surrounding community. This thesis also references studies of community-based design, low-cost and sustainable housing, transitional shelters, and homeless communities.

[1] "Colombia." UNHCR News. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. .

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.


First Advisor

Kathleen Lugosch

Second Advisor

Carey Clouse

Included in

Architecture Commons