Do Architects Help?
Do we help is one of the fundamental question that all professionals working in or aspiring to work in international development must ask themselves. This seemingly simple question, however, belies another level of complexity which is contingent on the environment and framework in which you work.
For many in the built environment profession the answer to this question is both yes and no. There are examples of where built environment interventions have saved lives and transformed communities and others where their contribution has been poorly executed or deemed irrelevant.
Practice In International Development: How It Works
CPD Stage 3: Tuesday 22nd May, 18:30 – 19:30
Scott Brownrigg: 77 Endell Street, London
NEW Introductory Rate: £5
This CPD designed by Article 25 is an introduction to the challenges one may encounter when working in the field and how work in international development may differ from practice in the UK.
This course will help you understand how your professionals skills can help deliver projects for some of the most vulnerable communities on earth, in locations with very few resources.
This constitutes part of our Essentials of Humanitarian Architecture Series and can be taken as your first CPD or after stages 1 and 2.
Prototype Child-Friendly School in Sierra Leone
by Article 25 with Foster + Partners
Despite the end of the civil war in 2002, the people of Sierra Leone continue the struggle to rebuild their lives. The UN’s classification of Sierra Leone as one of the poorest countries in the world only hints at the reality: one in four children die before their fifth birthday, access to clean water is rare, simple healthcare is unavailable to most, and only a small proportion of children attend school.
The conflict hit rural areas particularly hard, with schools being targeted by rebels to recruit children into their armies. The schools themselves were often destroyed or left derelict. The impact on a generation of children is severe. There is a great hunger for education, with many young adults enrolling to receive the education they were denied during the war. The existing school buildings are often in poor condition or entirely inadequate.
Article 25 is working with Foster + Partners to develop a new sustainable Prototype Rural School to be constructed in eastern Sierra Leone. The construction will be allied with a strong educational program, providing opportunities to develop local resources and skills relevant to the needs of the population. The project aims to improve current educational design standards by making school buildings more child-friendly — this includes better climatic control, and layouts which allow teachers to move around the classroom giving attention to individual students.
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Today is World Malaria Day, 25th April.
In support, Archive UK have launched a global design competition, championing innovative housing and environmental designs that help prevent the spread of malaria.
The competition, part of the Building Malaria Prevention campaign, is searching for design that reduces the breeding of mosquitoes. Three winning designs will be used to improve housing in Yaoundé in Cameroon, where 40% of deaths of children under five are caused by malaria.
Archive is an international charity using housing and architectural design to prevent illness and support care among the world’s poorest.
Their goal is to improve health through innovative design and sustainable housing improvements. Using one basic right – housing – to deliver one basic need – health.
Architecture for Rapid Change and Scarce Resources - Sumita Sinha
Architects, development practitioners and designers are working in a global environment and issues such as environmental and cultural sustainability matter more than ever. Past interactions and interventions between developed and developing countries have often been unequal and inappropriate. We now need to embrace fresh design practices based on respect for diversity and equality, participation and empowerment.
This book explores what it means for development activists to practise architecture on a global scale, and provides a blueprint for developing architectural practices based on reciprocal working methods. The content is based on real situations - through extended field research and contacts with architecture schools and architects, as well as participating NGOs. It demonstrates that the ability to produce appropriate and sustainable design is increasingly relevant, whether in the field of disaster relief, longer-term development or wider urban contexts, both in rich countries and poor countries.
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Architecture for Rapid Change and Scarce Resources
Talk & Discussion 18.30 Tuesday 24 April RIBA Bookshop, 66 Portland Place, London W1B
Part of the ‘Women in Architecture’ day at the Royal Institute of British Architects To mark the recent publication of Sumita Sinha’s ‘Architecture for Rapid Change and Scarce Resources’ the author and Nabeel Hamdi will have a conversation about architecture activism in a global environment, design and cultural diversity, the lack of available natural resources and finding a solution through sustainable construction methods to meet basic housing needs globally. They will also discuss women’s involvement and leading roles in regeneration projects. There will be a round of Q&A’s afterwards. This event is FREE to attend and there is no need to book
For the people, by the people. A visual story of the DIY city
For the People, By the People by Afaina de Jong is a visual story about how people influence change in the city. The collapse of faith in top-down planning has been followed by a renewed interest in the self-generating wisdom of bottom-up urban initiatives. What does it mean when people act as the urban change agents that direct the life and death of the world’s cities? Fusing her photography with a manifesto-like text, architect Afaina de Jong marks the people in the streets as the starting point of all urban trends and cultural innovation. And calls upon us all to become architects of our environment.
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Climate Conversations - Urban planning for sustainability key as cities expand
A general view of Dharavi, considered Asia’s biggest shantytown, is seen in Mumbai on February 10, 2009. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe
By Samuel Nota, AlertNet, 5th April 2012
The speed, scale, and complexity of urbanisation are unprecedented, and how we approach it will be fundamental to whether the world achieves environmentally sustainable development, experts said at the recent Planet Under Pressure conference in London.
The modern era of urbanisation since the Industrial Revolution over a century ago has seen the development of megacities around the world. As the world population increases to an estimated 9 billion by 2050, urban centres – particularly small and medium-sized cities - will see a population explosion, the experts said.
The United Nations predicts the total urban population in 2050 will reach 6.3 billion, up from 3.5 billion today, with 70 percent of the world’s people living in cities.
As people continue moving to urban jobs, in part in response to worsening climate change pressures, increased urbanisation is inevitable, but not inevitably bad.
Michail Fragkias of Arizona State University in the United States said that innovative design can change the way cities operate, and those designed for efficiency can be models for sustainability.
Potential ways to improve efficiency in cities include installing sensors that monitor power generation capacity and electricity demand, gathering better data from citizens and improving various sorts of infrastructure.
Learning from past mistakes
Importantly, developing urban centres will have the opportunity to learn from the costly environmental mistakes made by already developed cities, expert said.
Urban areas in the developing world “have a latecomer’s advantage in terms of knowledge, sustainable thinking, and technology,” said Shobhakar Dhakal, executive director of the Global Carbon Project in Tokyo.
Decisions being made now should be made for the long term, experts said. Some of the solutions proposed include better zoning and building standards, improving the quality of inner city education, investments in public infrastructure, and fostering demand for efficient lifestyles.
Urbanisation does not have to mean more emissions and worse public health, the experts emphasized – and urban planners, if they make the right decisions, can be sustainability trailblazers, setting a path for others to follow.
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Soe Ker Tie Houses - TYIN tegnestue architects
This orphanage opened in Noh Bo, Thailand in 2006 and was in need of more dormitories. The orphanage sheltered 24 children, however the intention was to house around 50. The main driving force behind the Soe Ker Tie House was to provide the children with their own private space, a place that they could call home and a space for interaction and play.
The Soe Ker Tie House is a blend between local skills and TYIN’s architectural knowledge. Because of their appearance the buildings were named Soe Ker Tie Haus by the Karen workers; The Butterfly Houses. The most prominent feature is the bamboo weaving technique, which was used on the side and back facades of the houses. The same technique can be found within the construction of the local houses and crafts. All of the bamboo was harvested within a few kilometres of the site.
The specially shaped roof of the Soe Ker Tie Houses promotes natural ventilation within the sleeping units and at the same time rainwater can be collected and stored for the dry season. The iron wood construction is assembled on-site using bolts ensuring precision and strength.
To prevent problems with moisture and rot, the sleeping units are raised off the ground on four concrete foundations, casted in old tires.
After a six month long mutual learning process with the locals in Noh Bo, the Soe Ker Tie House was completed in 2009 consisting of 6 sleeping units, housing 24 children.
The Green School
Environmentalists and designers John and Cynthia Hardy wanted to motivate communities to live sustainably. Part of that effort was to show people how to build with sustainable materials, namely bamboo. They established the Green School, and its affiliates: the Meranggi Foundation, which develops plantations of bamboo plants through presenting bamboo seedlings to local rice farmers; and PT Bambu, a for-profit design and construction company that promotes the use of bamboo as a primary building material, in an effort to avoid the further depletion of rainforests. The Green School, a giant laboratory built by PT Bambu, is located on a sustainable campus straddling both sides of the Ayung River in Sibang Kaja, Bali, within a lush jungle with native plants and trees growing alongside sustainable organic gardens.
The campus is powered by a number of alternative energy sources, including a bamboo sawdust hot water and cooking system, a hydro-powered vortex generator and solar panels. Campus buildings include classrooms, gym, assembly spaces, faculty housing, offices, cafes and bathrooms. A range of architecturally significant spaces from large multi-storey communal gathering places to much smaller classrooms are a feature of the campus. Local bamboo, grown using sustainable methods, is used in innovative and experimental ways that demonstrate its architectural possibilities. The result is a holistic green community with a strong educational mandate that seeks to inspire students to be more curious, more engaged and more passionate about the environment and the planet.
text taken from the Aga Kahn Award for Architecture website
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