Projects in Germany



The project examines  projects which are best practices for integration and planning solutions for arrival centers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They intend to develop and transform urban space, culture and society.

Within an exploration study,  existing projects and involved actors as well as visionary projects and designs are researched, evaluated and compared. Different evaluation formats make the results useful for planners and decision makers. In the practical part of the project, concrete, long-term successful projects are to be initiated, which promote social and multicultural co-operation and anchor the beneficiaries into their new context. The study is conducted for Hans Sauer Stiftung, Munich and their project “home not shelter”.



In this project, MORE THAN SHELTERS developed the concept of the integrated and socially just use of the former Tempelhof airport as an arrival center and accommodation for refugees.

MTS was asked to build an integrated management structure that included all administrative and operational stakeholders. During MTS-facilitated work sessions and workshops, a complete vision statement for the whole compound was developed. MTS also delivered a precise action plan for future development.

While one of the main challenges was balancing the newcomers’ needs with both the spatial specifics and the political complexity, the refugees’ perspective was the focal point of this project.

The combination of integrated urban design, organizational design and spatial design was key to finding a complete, holistic and human-centered solution.



To allow integrated planning – on a spatial and political level – MTS developed the concept of an „Integrated Planning Office“ for the site. The concept particularly focused on handling operations and achieving efficient decision-making processes in the complex political environment of refugee work in the city’s administration. Therefore, an operational and organizational structure was designed, iterated and discussed in close collaboration with the responsible state secretary. MTS´desired goal was to make the situation manageable and to overcome the municipality’s emergency state and allow the implementation of thoughtful and customizable planning. The approach pursued by MTS acknowledged that humane and dignified reception for immigrants, as well as effective integration measures, could only take place through internal collaborative working methods.


Together with the 600 inhabitants of a refugee emergency shelter in Berlin-Neukölln, MTS re-designed a floor within a former department store as part of the ROC21 initiative. Similar to a settlement structure, a central marketplace for semi-public events is established. The core of the concept is the establishment of different zones linked by the “ring road”: concentration and learning; recreation and community; children’s play and sporting activities.

MTS has translated the needs of residents into a spatial zoning concept to organize the juxtaposition of different activities. Furthermore, MTS has developed flexible architecture modules, which can be further adjusted and built in a participatory way.  A detailed documentation of the implementation process ensures the transferability to other sites.


MTS worked with a foundation that provides social services in Berlin. Together with a partner that is contributing a modular architectural solution, MTS developed an urban design for an integration hub for 130 refugees in a Berlin suburb called Weißensee. In addition to housing over 100 people, the hub intends to serve a variety of social purposes that fuel learning and personal development. The aim is to prepare and empower newcomers so they can feel like true citizens, all while keeping conflict prevention and risk management in mind.

While the project had a stronger strategic and conceptual emphasis in the beginning, MTS worked then on socio-spatial planning and neighborhood inclusion.

After an in-depth contextual analysis including both qualitative and quantitative research, MTS worked with a user-centric focus; to ensure that in the end, a holistically functioning hub will come to exist.

Projects in Hamburg

Protected space for women and children

Hamburg Exhibition Halls

This was our pilot project in Hamburg. From early August to late September 2015, approximately 1.200 refugees have found shelter in the Hamburg’s exhibition halls. Although fences were set up to provide shielding, the space lacks privacy and protected rooms. MORE THAN SHELTERS implemented two DOMOs on site to be used as nursing rooms and a separated, secure space for children.  

Various other projects in Hamburg

DOMOs as social spaces


Approximately 3.000 refugees are staying in the accommodation facility Hamburg-Schnackenburgallee. In order to provide housing for everybody, the space now consists of a container village and an additional tent camp – a solution, which has led to conflicts. Starting with four DOMOs, we created much needed social spaces according to principles of social design. We are in close contact with the refugee accommodation operators and conduct needs assessments for the implementation. During 2015 MORE THAN SHELTERS also provided five additional DOMOs to use as social spaces.

MORE THAN SHELTERS has provided social design expertise and DOMOs in various refugee accommodation areas in Hamburg. For example an old warehouse in Bergedorf had two DOMOs on the latter half of 2015. Together with a local volunteers our DOMOs accommodated children’s creative program with daily activities, such as dancing, singing and arts and crafts. Another two DOMOs were set up at Hamburg central railway station where one of them functioned as a mobile clothing point, as the majority of refugees reaching Hamburg were in sandals and light clothes, thus entirely unprepared for cold temperatures. The second DOMO served as a first aid and food supply station. We would like to thank our numerous partners in providing refugee aid in Hamburg!