Rehabilitation of the Hétes Roma Settlement in Hungary

eco-friendly living / masterplan / rehabilitation / Hungary

The housing of the Roma population in Hungary is a national concern. The Roma culture is very social, active and outside oriented. This doesn’t fit the space saving social housing programs that are often proposed. At the same time there is massive unemployment, which leads to illegal scavenging in an effort to survive.

At the Hétes settlement of the city Ózd in the North-East of Hungary every inhabitant is Roma and none of the 400 to 500 inhabitants is legally employed. It is likely that in the near future the houses will be demolished and these inhabitants will be pushed out.

In this research by design project we provide an alternative scenario for the future. The main strategy is empowerment through education. On the one hand this is about learning how to construct and maintain your own home, but also in finding means to support your own livelihood within a community. With an incremental housing strategy supported by an educational program the inhabitants can learn how to make use of the space that they have, with materials that are affordable or free of charge.

The project consists of an expansion and upgrade program for the existing settlement and a new incremental courtyard type settlement. In both cases we chose for an enclosing spatial organisation for security and to build trust within the community. Since interior space is scarce the inhabitants share these semi-private spaces for social practices such as preserving food, hanging clothes and organizing gatherings.

An important decision on the new dwellings is that they are to be expanded on by the dwellers themselves. A first phase contains the absolute minimum for a family of three which will act as the core of the house. On the two sides of this core on two levels the inhabitants can add walls and roofs to extend their personal homes according to their needs and with their own means. So that the inhabitants can take charge of their own lives.

Hétes settlement, Ózd, Hungary
Further info

Orsolya Mátyus
Orsolya Mátyus