"The biggest challenge architects have faced in a generation"

Comments update: the poor design of refugee camps was thrust into the spotlight this week after we interviewed one of the world's leading authorities on humanitarian aid.

Tent towns: Kilian Kleinschmidt – a former high-level United Nations aid worker and founder of aid consultancy, Switxboard – warned that a lack of willingness to recognise the permanent nature of refugee camps was leading to a failure to provide much-needed infrastructure in "the cities of tomorrow".

"This is the biggest challenge architects have faced in a generation," said James. "I just hope we're up to it."

"It would be great to see some major architectural organisations and influential architects get together to push for a radical rethink of refugee camps," added Lindsay. "The average stay of 17 years [in a camp] is a frightening statistic."

Others agreed with Kleinschmidt that advances in technology would offer increased opportunities for those living in camps to shape their urban environments.

"It shouldn't and won't just be left to governments to provide advanced refugee camps in the future," wrote Patrick. "3D printing, as the article points out, will allow people to take charge of getting what they need when they need it." Read the comments on this story »

World's tallest building planned for Iraq's Basra Province
Bride tower design by AMBS Architects

Booming Basra: plans to construct the world's tallest building in Iraq were unveiled last week, but is the war-torn country ready for such a large development?

"It's ridiculous to spend a load of money on a project like this in a country that has many other issues that need to be solved," said Remco Boersma. "Maybe they should sort out the electricity and infrastructure first," agreed Zenjebil.

Not everyone was as pessimistic about the proposal, which was described as the "world's first vertical city" by its designers.

"It's encouraging to see ambitious ideas put forward for the future of Iraq," concluded regular commenter James. Read the comments on this story »

Ark Encounter by Troyer Group
Ark Encounter by Troyer Group

Noah's park: news that a theme park featuring a giant wooden structure based on Noah's Ark is nearing completion sparked a debate about the use of architecture for the promotion of creationist views.

"[This theme park] will contribute to the distortion of natural history education," wrote Charles. "It is therefore impossible to separate the technical achievement from the indoctrination it represents."

"Shame on the mocking commenters who aren't adding to the discussion about design, construction, or building," replied The Liberty Disciple. "Requiring a concrete core to support it, this will actually be an impressive building in scale and detail".

"If we can have a theme park with a talking mouse, we can have a theme park with a magic boat," quipped back James BrianoRead the comments on this story »

Copenhagen Gate by Steven Holl
Copenhagen Gate by Steven Holl

A bridge too far? A pair of Steven Holl-designed skyscrapers for Copenhagen linked by a pedestrian and cycle bridge came under fire from readers this week.

"I can already say that no [cyclist] will take an elevator to cross that part of the harbour, which you can easily go around," said a commenter calling themselves Gentcement.

Readers also took to Instagram to vent their views. "It looks great but what about everyday functionality?" asked Lykke. "Are you supposed to enter a tower with your bike? Sorry but that is just plain stupid."

"It's just another gimmick," added a guest commenter. "Just because something can be done, doesn't mean that it should be." Read the comments on this story »

Main image of a refugee camp on the Turkey-Syria border courtesy of Shutterstock.