Adobe for Women: A Project with Architecture for Humanity

By June 2, 2011 Blog, Featured

© Alix Ogilvie

In the 2010-2011 edition of our masters program, we partnered up with the architectural non-profit Architecture for Humanity, a San Francisco-based but internationally-operating organization that brings architectural services to communities in need. In addition to having their cofounder Cameron Sinclair and head of educational outreach Nathaniel Corum as visiting professors of the course, we also organized a field trip in which students had the opportunity to participate in the Adobe for Women project they are leading in Oaxaca, Mexico.

© blaanc borderless architecture

Adobe for Women is a non-profit association, founded in 2011, aimed at the recovery and education of earth construction techniques in order to contribute to a more human and sustainable use of space and the planet’s resources. The goal is to build 20 sustainable houses in the indigenous village of San Juan Mixtepec, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. The houses are intended for 20 women in difficult circumstances who are participating in the building process. They will slowly appropriate their future home while redefining their self esteem, work abilities and hope that will transform the spaces into safe, caring places for themselves and their families.

Nathaniel Corum, head of education outreach for Architecture for Humanity and best known for his work on the Plastiki, explains the role that our students play in this and other projects:

“Architecture for Humanity’s primary goal with education outreach is to engage architecture students in real-world humanitarian design challenges. We’re engaging with schools in the EU led by UIC to connect students directly to our projects on the ground. This year the collaboration took the form of designing a sports for change center near the Kenya Sudan border and a field trip to a sports for change facility in Mexico where students helped the project team with site photos, renderings and took part in a site visit with members of the design team. Students were also leveraged to lay out and partially construct several adobe homes as part of the Adobe for Women initiative.”

Here is a selection of photos taken during their collaboration with Adobe for Women in Mexico:

The women…

© Alix Ogilvie

Mixing the adobe…

© Alix Ogilvie

Laying the foundations…

© Adobe for Women

© Alix Ogilvie

The site…

© Alix Ogilvie

© Alix Ogilvie

The plans…

© blaanc borderless architecture

 

© blaanc borderless architecture

We asked Nathaniel how it was to work with our students. “The UIC students really jumped in to the game. Assisting with site surveys, building layout, presentation graphics and hands on adobe-making in the course of multiple projects in Oaxaca Mexico. “It was wonderful to see them working side-by-side with local architects, designers and community members to push crucial projects forward.””

We’re excited to continue working Architecture for Humanity on future workshops and field trips to project sites in the years ahead. In the meantime, you can follow the progress of the Adobe for Women project at the official blog.

To find out more about Architecture for Humanity, you can also check out our interview with its cofounder, Cameron Sinclair:

Or watch the OPEN LECTURE he gave while teaching the our masters course in Barcelona:

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