HY William Chan, an architect hailing from Sydney, has been selected for the Madrid Design Festival’s EXTRAPERLO 2021 exhibit.

A former Sustainability Award winner in 2019, Chan will feature in The Burial, a multimedia installation curated by Anne-Laure Pingreoun that is a curatorial platform for the unorthodox, which challenges the systems, structures and codes that exist in contemporary design.

Pingreoun has centred the exhibition around the legacy of 2020, what it has brought society and what it wishes to release. The curator has declared her interest in what is being created, what stays, what gets forgotten or destroyed in order to build a better version of ourselves.

Chan’s project ‘Citizens of Home’ examines 2020 through the global refugee crisis, particularly from the understanding of shelter as a human right.

The Australian architect, who as featured on the Talking Architecture & Design podcast, says the sheer magnitude of last year’s events have revealed plenty about the human condition.

“The past year has been revealing in its impact on humanity – humanity’s identity as well as humanity’s discrimination,” Chan says.

Both Chan’s work and video questions the architectural definition of ‘home’ that has been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing citizens to return to their home countries and adapt to ‘work from home’ environments. 

For populations experiencing forced migration, however, they have been forced to leave their homes into refugee shelters and camps in host communities, which in essence have become their new homes.

“Our ‘home’ took on a new meaning as people worked from home, isolated in the safety and refuge of their homes, and fled back to their home countries. What does this mean if you don't have a home?”

The exhibited project builds on Chan’s past architecture and social justice work with refugee camp communities in Greece, where young refugees learnt skills to design and develop construction elements for their shelters from plastic waste.

The EXTRAPERLO 2021 exhibit at the 2021 Madrid Design Festival runs until mid-March, featuring ten varied and storied designers. For more information head to extraperlo.org.


To listen to our podcast from last year with Chan about the impact of the architecture and design sector in the fight against climate change, click here.