Divyasri Sridhar

MA Interior Design


We live in a world with a constantly changing geo-political climate, affecting millions everyday and slowly altering the fabric of societal living. Over the past few years, over 80 million persons have been forcefully displaced due to natural disasters, internal crackdowns and war. Such communities seek asylum in host nations and are eventually deemed a burden to the tax payer.

Through ‘Design Is People’, I studied the fundamentals that we may tap into, to harness endless talents within the long-stay refugee communities and encourage them to contribute to local economies and graduate to tax-paying individuals and businesses.

The Refugee Skill Development Centre and Business Accelerator was a research-led attempt to adopt a historic building in Canterbury and reimagine its interior space to cater to a growing community, encourage volunteering, establish new economic avenues and upskill professionals to aid them in re-entering their industry of expertise.

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A comprehensive view of the cafeteria and communal areas of the building. The three interior levels are visually connected and responsive to the natural light conditions around the build.
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The Skill Development Centre and Business Accelerator- Journey of the Design
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The multipurpose-area that may be used for seminars, demonstrations or meet and greet events. The space can be cordoned off by way of the multi-fold glazed doors; its proximity to the cafeteria and the communal areas enables facilitation of large public events and gatherings.
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The ergonomic workstations zone is outward facing and differentiated by the use of unique flooring and colour. Users may choose to work at the plug-n-play stations either seated on a chair, or on an informal, chaise-like seating to aid in increased productivity.
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The display unit labeled 'Cart' was inspired by the famous pushcarts seen in market places in the Middle East. Here, the carts are placed close to the cafeteria, by the communal area, bringing traction and sales to entrepreneurs displaying their works for sale or to attract investors.
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The communal area was planned as a dip within the base of the building, paving the way for day-light to flood the building for a longer period of time. The design encourages communication and can also be used to store books, toys and so on.
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The program of spaces included ample cutouts in the floor plates, improving visual connect and exuberate the open, inviting nature of the undertaking. Seen here is the skywalk on level 1, overlooking the entrance-reception areas on level 0.
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