After reading the article on how architects are helping to build refugee partition systems in Poland for Ukrainian refugees, I decided that Saltus Poles could support the initiative and help improve the design significantly.
The partition system currently being deployed in Poland refugee centers were designed by Tokyo-based architect and Pritzker Prize laureate Shigeru Ban. The current construction technique is simple, according to Hubert Trammer, a professor of architecture and engineering at Poland’s Lublin University of Technology and one of the leaders of the Voluntary Architects Network’s efforts in Poland. The partition system is assembled using a sturdy paperboard material made from recycled paper pulp. Support columns roughly four inches in diameter are connected to narrower two-inch tubes used as crossbeams.
Textile curtains suspended from this framework can divvy up large spaces providing privacy and dignity for refugee families and orderliness for shelter administrators.
Yet deploying this partition system has been tricky in Poland. After a fire chief raised safety concerns, the architects must now test and certify the paper tubes for fire resistance so they can be authorized for use under local regulations, Trammer says. The fabric partitions also need to meet the same safety standards for curtains hanging in a public space such as a museum or theater.
In Wrocław, local fire authorities asked volunteers to dismantle about 50 units and threatened to shut down the installation, but later relented.
This is where the Saltus fireproof composite pole will make a huge difference. The Saltus composite pole was designed to withstand any fire due to the materials of construction. And best of all – it was designed to be lightweight due to its composite construction and the current method of assembly does not need to change. The Saltus composite pole was designed to be low cost to be able to compete with the price of wood, therefore it would not add unnecessary cost to construction of the partition system. Saltus Poles recommends using the 78mm diameter Saltus pole as support columns and the 43mm diameter Saltus pole as crossbeams.
Saltus Poles is also working on a fireproof recyclable plastic sheet that will be easier to suspend from the framework and will not add to a fire risk. As an alternative, Saltus Poles also developed an insulated composite panel used in the construction of modular homes called Saltus Pods. These panels are lightweight and can install very quickly and will not add to a fire risk.
The Saltus Poles fireproof partition system design is currently being shared with the UN Refugee Agency in Poland as well as the high-level roundtable members of the New European Bauhaus. Logistics is typically the chief obstacle for this humanitarian mission. In that regard, the projects in Poland had help from the New European Bauhaus, an initiative launched by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in 2020.
Saltus Poles is patented internationally and was developed in South Africa. It was originally designed for use in gold and platinum mines for mine roof support and then further optimised for application in farming. Saltus Poles are now widely used as vineyard support poles and fruit shade net structures.
Please visit www.saltuspoles.com for more information on the poles and send us an email if you would like to support us in this humanitarian mission.