In light of the affects of Katrina and seeing the need to form a strategy for replacing the estimated 300,000 homes that were lost in the storm, Tulane University’s School of Architecture and Architectural Record sponsored a two-tiered competition for professionals and students. More than 500 entries were submitted.
The competitions addressed the need for New Orleans to consider a variety of long-term housing solutions in an effort to inhabit once again the ravaged urban fabric. The first competition was aimed at generating ideas for a high density development in the immediate downtown area situated on a city block. The contest asked for a 160-unit development that also included retail and other public space. One of the jurors is considered the leading developer looking to rebuild on the actual competition site. The second contest, only open to students, was an exploratory exercise intended to develop a new housing prototype for New Orleans taking into consideration lessons learned from Katrina as well as the leftover conditions of the city’s fabric. Five of the entries were given noted citations.
[Image provided by archrecord.construction.com]
CRISIS > a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, environmental, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change
Sunday, November 19, 2006
An immediate response to the FEMA trailer park, the resulting efforts of housing for displaced peoples from the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina, equipped and motivated designers as well as other concerned individuals to seek other design alternatives and solutions. What has become known as the Katrina Cottage, designed by Marianne Cusato and Eric Moser, is one of the resulting products that emerged from a design charette organized by the Congress for the New Urbanism called the Mississippi Renewal Forum.
The result is a neo-trad vernacular cottage that is intended to be a ‘restarter’ home for those displaced by Katrina. The idea is that these units could be customized and placed on a larger lot with the expectation that it would either be added onto and made into a larger family home or instead be reprogrammed into a guest cottage or accessory dwelling. Because of their small size, they are expected to be built quickly. The units have been categorized and marketed as an affordable housing solution, though being priced at more than $100/SF may raise reasonable questioning and is most likely attributed to a hyped “cute” factor. Four models have been prototyped and can be prefab or constructed on-site. Lowe’s will offer the ‘materials package’ beginning in Spring 2007.
[Image provided by media.2theadvocate.com]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 11:37:00 PM
DesignBoom hosted the Shelter in a Cart design competition as its social awareness award for 2006. Those entering the competition were asked to submit designs that addressed the needs of homelessness throughout the world urban centers, on the street in a transportable unit and not in a confined shelter or center for homeless individuals. The results produced more than 4,000 entries from almost 100 different countries. The project was hosted in consideration of the nearly 4 million homeless individuals when combining US and European figures.
The winning submission for the competition was a three-man team from Greece [Dramitinos + Alkis + Papageorgiou]. Keeping cost and production in mind while at the same time considering the safekeeping of personal belonging from the elements, the designers incorporated a typical mass-manufactured shopping cart with a ‘closet’ compartment that contained secure and waterproof storage spaces. Within the housing of the same compartment, a fabric cot can fold out and cover a sleeping ‘tent’ of some sorts. Serious considerations were also made concerning the mobility of the cart as well as the durability.
[Image provided by www.designboom.com]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 11:34:00 PM
Pig City is the resulting work of MVRDV as part of cooperative study with Netherlands’ Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries. The notion of rethinking the pork industry was brought into light with consideration of the land-consuming populations of both Dutch citizens as well as swine and the increasing demand on the industry’s export market. This proposal was meant to address several concerns: Space and land conservation, disease management, curving transportation resource expenditures, as well as better energy efficiency in pork industry operations.
The resulting scheme featured 76 high-rise towers with flats at each level for pig farming. The towers were proposed to be located near both ports and urban concentrations in address of transportation. On top of the 600+ meter tower is a fishery that accounts for a portion of the food consumption needs for the swine. Energy capture + processing systems also incorporate into the scheme with the intention of using byproducts of the farming operations and occupancy to sustain the facility with energy.
This swinish fantasia has caught the attention of many. Some architects applaud its imagination and dramatic measures. But most architects and others have raised critical concern about its danger of centralization. Some have questioned the ethical responsibilities and credibility of architects who propose extreme solutions as these.
[Image provided by homepages.compuserve.de]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 11:22:00 PM
One Small Project is an updated website and upcoming book calling for the submissions from creative thinkers, activists, designer, and the like with projects that address the issue of ‘left-over’ spaces that more than one billion individuals occupy and call home. Staggering facts of overwhelming numbers shedding light on the reality of squatter and slum communities is addressed not by recognizing large scale efforts or projects, but instead celebrates “One person. One architect. One small project. Repeat.” It recognizes the scale of problem as well as the gravity of addressing all of it by giving attention to individuals who are making a difference one space at a time.
Wes Janz is the author and instigator of this movement. He is currently a faculty member of Architecture at Ball State University and is also a registered architect. In his current academic platform, his strives to instill into his students the value of being a “global citizen-architect”.
[Image provided by www.onesmallproject.com]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 10:28:00 PM
Adobe Alliance is a non-profit group based in western Texas reaching out to the world in advocating the building of sustainable structures with adobe technology and methods. Promoting economic and environmental sustainability while at the same time incorporating considerations for indigenous aesthetics and the natural landscape is a driving purpose in the organization’s efforts. Internships and other workshops are offered with the intentions of training and educating interested individuals in the benefits of adobe construction. It is the hope of Adobe Alliance to use this program as means of addressing housing needs and environmental concerns in all arid regions of the world where adobe is a possibility.
Adobe Alliance was founded in the 1990’s by Simone Swan who worked with Hassan Fathy in the 1970’s, renown for his pursuits of earth construction and advocating traditional, local buildings strategies.
>>Questions and Responses with Simone Swan, Adobe Alliance founder
CCD>> Generally speaking, where are design professionals failing and succeeding in combating crisis with design?
Swan>> In the news you see the white, plastic boxes provided to the residents of Bam, Iran, the tents in the peaks of Pakistan and elsewhere, and plywood shelters in Sri Lanka. I simply have not seen or heard of combating crisis by organizing by organizing people to build their own vernacular with comtemporary improvements.
CCD>> What do you see as an overlooked crisis currently in the world that could benefit from the attention + talents of creative designers?
Swan>> An overlooked crisis is where people are ill-housed and not provided with sufficient materials, be they banana leaves, thatch, adobe bricks, mud and branches, condemned buildings in big cities rife for repairs. The attention and talents of creative designers could consist of 1] A dialogue questioning the future dwellers on their individual needs and preferences, 2] Back-breaking work and skills to obtain and provide appropriate materials, and 3] The will of creative designers to work alongside the people in crisis preferably learning their language. I do not see the housing crises solved at a work table.
CCD>> Does function or beauty play a more important role of combating crisis with design?
Swan>> In the case of adobe roofed with woodless vaults and domes, beauty is the bonus that results from the functional form. I know little else. If one launches into the ambition of departing to create beauty, in any circumstance, there lurks the extreme danger or crisis of the designer's pretentiousness and hubris.
CCD>> Have you all set up any educational programs to export your knowledge to other arid regions of the world that could benefit from your empirical research?
Swan>> We publish but mainly hold two workshops a year offering hands-on building of walls, vaults, and domes and theory. That is done through the variety of students: from Iran, Nepal, Brazil, Colombia, France; Oakland, Toronto, Tucson, San Luis Potosi, Chihuahua City, Dallas, New York. What they eventually do with their learnings is not always known. Our Nepalese alumnus built adobe domed "yurts" in Mongolia.
CCD>> What is the next big step for Adobe Alliance? Are there any new developing directions or ambitions?
Swan>> We are slowly becoming known after 12 years and will no doubt become itinerant adobe-building teachers rather than rooted in the remote Big Bend Area.
[Image provided by www.adobealliance.org]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 10:23:00 PM
Husband and wife team Pliny Fisk III and Gail Vittori continue to promote sustainable design through their organization called Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, a non-profit program that had its origins rooted in an “ecological design” course taught in the field at University of Texas at Austin more than 30 years ago. Today the organization “emphasiz[es] design, master planning, policy and education, and tools” as a means of promoting healthy and sustainable community design and building.
A project that has recently been advocated by the group is known as the GroHome. This project is a ‘green’ and modular design that allows for owners/inhabitants to expand and adapt the structure and its program with a minimal effect on multiple factors. Along with the modular matrix, a “fat wall” can be added on to the structure and contains perhaps an entire kitchen wall or functioning bathroom. In recent light of respondes to Katrina and the need of replacing the homes and communities of the displaced people affected by that storm, Fisk and Vittori have interested parties in developing GroHome communities in those affected states.
[Image provided by www.metropolismag.com]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 10:08:00 PM
Cubo Arquitectos have addressed and presented a potential solution to provide for emergency shelter with their project Door House. The unassembled package is primarily composed of readily available building components such as hollow-core doors, pallets, and oriented-strand board. It is thought that this would allow for an easy and effective ‘packaging’ blitz to send to areas of disaster need.
The entire shelter is estimated to take 8 hours of assembly with 7 people. The pallets and OSB form the foundation/floor platform [Sorry, flat sites only.] on which the hollow doors are assembled to form the walls and ceilings. A steel tube frame is integrated into the design as well, forming a skeletal structure to support the plastic canvas that functions as the shelter’s roof. The shelter is anticipated to be worth three months of inhabitation.
[Image provided by www.cuboarquitectos.cl]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 10:00:00 PM
Hassan Fathy is considered one of Egypt’s most prominent architects of modern times, known for his aspirations of returning to a vernacular style of building with the revival of indigenous materials and methods, primarily adobe construction techniques. He is most widely recognized for his project of a relocated village, New Gourna, near the Luxor Valley in Egypt. He featured the project in his most famous publication Architecture for the Poor.
New Gourna is an odd case study for one to claim as his most noted and highly acclaimed work, considering that it was abandoned and never really inhabited by its intended dwellers, a relocated community composed of a large portion of graverobbers. It is noted that perhaps the scale of the project combined with its then radical aspirations is its reason for the attention and praise it received from the international architectural community. Less than one-quarter of the entire village plan was ever realized.
Nevertheless, Fathy has inspired many of today’s designers and builders who share his vision of creating an appropriate and sustainable architecture for underprivileged peoples while at the same time fitting with their cultural identity.
[Image provided by weekly.ahram.org.eg]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 09:47:00 PM
Perhaps no other Twentieth Century figure has had more influence on today’s aspiring individuals wishing to design in an effort to combat crisis as much as Buckminster Fuller has. However, Fuller, as his admirers have come to know him, almost never existed. Kicked out of Harvard twice and a self-proclaimed fraternity ‘misfit’, he considered suicide after compounded issues of financial and professional woes, alcohol abuse, and the death of daughter pushed him to the edge. An epiphany struck him in what were to be his last moments that he could somehow devote the rest of his life and his efforts to make an impact in the world for the betterment of humanity.
For the next five decades of his life, this man’s work accounted for dozens of books, patents, honorary doctorates, and design awards addressing issues in the arts and sciences, engineering, and humanities. Architecturally, he is most widely known for his invention of the geodesic dome, still considered the most efficient space-enclosing and cost-effective structural system in the world. Today there are an estimated 300,000+ geodesic structures in the world, and many of today’s emergency relief shelters and facilities take direct inspiration from this system.
[Image provided by www.bfi.org]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 09:37:00 PM
WorldChanging began a blog group that has since been dubbed as "solutions-based journalism," advocating design and activism to alleviate many of the world’s recognized crisis. The group now boasts of a team of contributers/writers/activists as well as a new published book that has a foreword by former U.S. Vice President and environmental activists Al Gore. The book is entitled Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century and is currently available in bookstores.
Jamais Cascio and Alex Steffen started the group in October 2003.
[Image provided by www.amazon.com]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/19/2006 09:24:00 PM
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Founded by Auburn professors Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee and D.K. Ruth in 1992, the Rural Studio set out to serve communities in need in rural Alabama. They intended to tackle substandard housing and facilities that had become prevalent and concentrated in certain counties and ended up focusing on Hale County. By the late 90’s the studio began to attract the attention of both professional and academic audiences for the projects that ranged between public community building to small private homes. After Sambo’s passing in 2001, Andrew Freear has since overseen the progress of the studio and its projects.
More than 450 students have now passed through the program and dozens of projects have been designed and realized by the efforts of the faculty, students, and community.
[Image provided by www.tropolism.com.]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 11/15/2006 09:42:00 AM