Architect Magazine's Humanitarian Issue

By September 27, 2011 Blog, NewsBites


The September issue of Architect Magazine has devoted its pages to the practice of emergency architecture through a series of articles, interviews and infographics that highlights different approaches to disaster reconstruction and sheds light on both their potential strengths and weaknesses. Here is a brief overview and link to each of the articles included in the Architecture to the Rescue issue.

Altruism, Architecture & Disaster – LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthrone talks about why ‘humanitarian’ architecture is on the rise, how cases like the Ground Zero development and post-Katrina New Orleans point to the difficulties in executing civic-minded urban planning, and how the shift from formal priorities in architecutre to far more literal and social ones are bound to make humanitarian efforts “messier and harder to measure”.

Can Architecture Save Humanity? – The founders of what is certainly the most heard of architectural nonprofit talk about how their work has inevitably turned them into developers, spending as much time on “building loans as building clinics”. Architecture for Humanity emphasizes their commitment to empowering local economies and discuss some of the strategies they employ in places like Haiti to make that happen.

Sites at Risk – The most practical bit of information to take away from the issue is this interactive global map of sites at risk of all kinds of natural disasters, from volcanoes and droughts to floods and earthquakes.

Rapid Response – The story of how Alabama architect Butch Grimes mobilized a network of architects after the tornado ripped through the state last April reveals how architects “are uniquely suited for an essential step before planning and rebuilding—assessing structural damage”.

High Relief Shigeru Ban‘s highly efficient yet somewhat detached designs raises questions as to how architects should (or shouldn’t) approach humanitarian efforts and reminds us that “it’s the humble, non-exciting, more modest level of innovation that tends to be a lot more successful and a lot more scalable”.

Space, Time and Disaster – Another useful tool: A timeline of disaster and the decline of civilizations

Play it Safe – In case it’s the architects who are in danger, here’s a guide on how to protect your office and work in the event of a calamity.

Read the full articles at Architect Magazine

Images © Asaf Hanuka for Architect Magazine

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