Solomon Islands Village Shelters

Name of case study

Solomon Islands Village Shelters

Location

Western and Choiseul Provinces, Solomon Islands

Year

2007

Scale

Building/single site scale

Area / size

20-30m2

NbS employed

Flood-resilient structures

Type of NbS

Engineered interventions (not using vegetation)

Initiator

World Vision International

Funder

World Vision International / Partner Housing Australasia

Budget

unknown

Design group

Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, Bruce Hutchison Structural Engineer

Framing for a village shelter under construction. Photo from Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, 2024.
Workers use basic hand tools in construction. Photo from Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, 2024.
Completed shelter, showing elevated construction and stair entry. Photo from Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, 2024.
Climate change benefits

Which climate change impacts are addressed?

  • Freshwater flooding
  • Indirect health, social, cultural climate change impacts
  • Sea level rise 
  • Storm surge
  • Wind damage
Societal / socio-cultural benefits

Which societal challenges are addressed?

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Economic and social development
  • Rights / empowerment / equality / tino rangatiratanga
Ecological benefits

Which ecosystem services are generated or supported?

  • Disturbance prevention (erosion, storm damage, flooding etc.)
  • Education and knowledge
  • Mana (pride), whakamana (empowerment), tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty)

Summary of case study

Following the 2007 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that especially affected the Western, Choisel and Shortland provinces of the Solomon Islands causing widespread displacement, Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, alongside World Vision International, partner Housing Australasia, and structural engineer Bruce Hutchison developed ‘The Solomon Islands Village Shelter’ to provide a blueprint for training local people in more resilient (re)construction methods (Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, 2024).



The shelter is informed by local Indigenous construction methods, best practice, and local, and easily attainable materials. Working with a small group of local people, including respected individuals, training was conducted to develop local capacity to rebuild and repair housing (Ranongga.org, n.d.-a). The design includes elevated construction on piles of more than 1m tall and set 1m into the ground (Ranongga.org, n.d.-b). This makes the dwelling more resilient to overland flow, flash floods, sea level rise, storm surge, and tsunami inundation. Access is provided via an external stair and porch. Other resilient strategies include adequate cross bracing and fastening of connections/joints and a roof design similar to the local vernacular and using local thatch material, making the structure safer under cyclone conditions. Where possible, local materials were used and external materials limited, such as corrugated sheeting and bolts. The design is open source, following several iterations and responding to real-world use.

Hundreds of structures using these construction methods went on to be constructed following the initial training and demonstration program. Subsequent guides have used and expanded on these designs (Vahanvati et al., 2022). There is potential for other Indigenous building methods in Te Moananui Oceania to be supplemented with modern construction techniques or strategies that make structures more flood resilient and culturally appropriate. Examples might be the construction techniques used in Fijian bure or Samoan fale tele.

Construction documents

Images from Kaunitz Yeung Architecture, 2024.
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References
  • Kaunitz Yeung Architecture. (2024). Village Shelters. Kaunitz Yeung Architecture. https://kaunitzyeung.com/project/village-shelters/
  • Ranongga.org. (n.d.-a). Build back better workshops. Ranongga.Org. https://ranongga.org/buildbackbetter/
  • Ranongga.org. (n.d.-b). Demonstration shelters. Ranongga.Org. https://ranongga.org/demonstrationshelters/Vahanvati, M., McEvoy, D., Kuh, D., & Iyer-Raniga, U. (2022). Inclusive and disaster resilient shelter guide: Urban informal settlements, Honiara, Solomon Islands (p. 4108864 Bytes). https://doi.org/10.25439/RMT.19094600

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