Creating caring interiors and exteriors for children and youth

What is sensitive design and how is it applicable in crisis settings?

In 2022 and 2023, as a collective, we are working intensively in the context of humanitarian aid. After the start of the war in Ukraine, we have actively cooperated with humanitarian organizations People in Need Slovakia and Mareena in the creation of leisure areas for children and youth in emergency accommodation facilities in Slovakia and the Transcarpathian part of Ukraine. Our role was mainly:

Research implementation: identifying needs in a spatial and social context.
Sensitive design and program planning.
Covering the intervention and subsequent delivery.
Covering the development of and compliance with methodological procedures. \

„Kjutik“, Low-threshold centres and Child Friendly Spaces

Our active cooperation with the non-profit organization People in Need Slovakia started right after the war broke out in Ukraine. Our organization responded to the need to provide the most vulnerable groups – children and young people – with dignified and attractive conditions in temporary shelters in Slovakia for education, leisure and entertainment.

The first of the joint projects was given the working title Kjutik (children's corner). We worked with a crisis design, designed directly on the place where people fleeing the war were living. We realised five spaces in a few days in the form of workshops. We were assisted by architecture students from the Faculty of Arts in Košice as well as people from Ukraine, living on the spot. Over time, we transformed the crisis design and active cooperation into larger interventions in the form of three Low-threshold centres in Žilina, Prešov and Spišská Nová Ves.

In the project Child friendly Spaces we are involved in the establishment of 40 children's leisure areas in the Transcarpathian part of Ukraine. We work in emergency housing facilities, schools, kindergartens and bomb shelters. We aim to bring the holiday atmosphere where it is needed most - the project results in more child and youth friendly spaces. Spaces that allow for more joyful leisure time or compulsory time in the shelter for the duration of the alarms.

Transformation and orientation in the Gabčíkovo premises

We also helped to create several leisure spaces in the Humanitarian Centre in Gabčíkovo in cooperation with Mareena.

In addition, at the end of last year, we created a guidance system for this building complex. We designed the new signage for the tracts, floors and important rooms to be easy to read and understood by all age and cultural groups. Although some residents have lived at the centre since the war began and are familiar with the building, new refugees threatened by the war in a neighbouring country continue to arrive at the centre.

Team and support

The projects are carried out by Spolka in cooperation with Mareena, People in Need Slovakia, a team of Ukrainian architects and Sign of Hope organization. The project in cooperation with People in Need Slovakia is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.