Begun in 1966 as the Intermediate Technology Development Group, the group now known as Practical Action is using both design and technology to help relieve impoverished communities around the world, aiming to create conditions for an acceptable means of daily living and working. Keeping with ideals of sustainability and “small is beautiful,” the projects this group addresses involves shelter, energy, transportation, food and agriculture, as well as disaster mitigation. The group works all around the world currently, but has concentrated efforts in eastern and southern Africa, south central Asia, and parts of Latin America.
In lines of architecture and building, Practical Action has made a big focus on improving the local building standards of indigenous methods and materials, particularly with earth construction standards. Brick making, rammed-earth construction, and compressed earth block have all been introduced into different programs primarily based in Africa. Earthquake resistant developments for southern Peru have been another successful program.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” >>Dr. E. F. Schumacher, Founder of Practical Action
[Image provided by practicalaction.org]
CRISIS > a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, environmental, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change
Friday, December 15, 2006
International Design Clinic is a non-profit organization that has been started with the intention of giving design students an opportunity to contribute to community needs with design solutions for the betterment of those communities, terming it as “Guerilla Architecture and Humanitarian Design”. The group is spurred on by the ideas that the world has many desperate needs currently and that those needs require creative solutions by creative individuals. The students are lead by IDC’s founder and president, Gerald Shall, who is currently a faculty member of Architecture at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The group, though very new, has already completed design+build projects for children’s playgrounds in Romania and Louisiana. The next upcoming project will entail students engaging in an exercise to design a portable ‘school house’ for Mumbai, India.
[Image provided by www.internationaldesignclinic.org]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 12/15/2006 09:41:00 PM
Begun in 2000, the Association la Voute Nubienne has revived a previously misplaced building form and technique to address escalating problems with building in many impoverished areas of west Africa. The technology of the Nubian vault is taken from Sudan and Central Asia and is meant to be a better solution for shelter on multiple fronts. It is entirely earthen construction, not relying on either timber, sawn lumber, or corrugated metal roofing, which has become either hard to obtain or economically unfeasible for many poor families. The Nubian vault technique requires no temporary supports and the technique is easily taught to local craftsmen. It is easily considered economically and environmentally sustainable, and it also creates better shelters by value of thermal capacity and aesthetics.
The Association does most of their work in Burkino Faso, having trained some 40+ teams. The most popular typology erected in this technique through this program has been the private home, but it is noted that a Catholic church and mosque have also been built just recently with the Nubian vault methodology.
Hassan Fathy also used this method at his village project of New Gourna in Egypt during the 1940's.
www.wikipedia.org >> Nubian_vault
[Image provided by www.lavoutenubienne.org]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 12/15/2006 09:17:00 PM
Public Architecture was established in 2002 as a non-profit architectural outfit boasting of its pro-bono services for public service projects and advocacy among the professional community. Founded by John Peterson, he was inspired with a vision beyond the typical clientele and commissions that he was so accustomed for architects to take on. He saw a bigger vision to impact the culture and community on a larger, ‘public’ scale. Today, Public Architecture has launched an advocacy campaign aimed at the entire design professional community to encourage a pledge and dedication of their billable hours towards community design and development. The program is known as “The 1% Solution”.
In the field, Public Architecture has tackled issues such as urban sidewalk+streetscape design, accessory dwelling units, day laborer stations, and the Scrap House, a built exhibition for the World Environment Day festivities in San Francisco using all reclaimed materials from local landfills.
[Image provided by www.cesarrubio.com]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 12/15/2006 09:06:00 PM
Design Corps “shares a vision with many to help solve daily needs and crises of people through design.” Through the efforts and energy of design students and architectural interns, Byran Bell has created an organization that is aiming its efforts at rural and low-income communities in the United States, those typically cut-off from the services and benefits of a professional designer. [Design Corps is considered a cooperative program in association with AmeriCorps.]
Projects that have been generated by the group include self-help homes, community centers, migrant housing, and job-training centers through their fellowships, internships, and other part-time studios. Other efforts have brought forth the published book Good Deeds, Good Design: Community Service through Architecture from 2004. They have also begin an annual conference addressing their concerns, the Structures for Inclusion Conference, hosted this coming spring in Charlotte, North Carolina.
[Image provided by web.austin.utexas.edu]
Posted by Combating Crisis with Design at 12/15/2006 08:59:00 PM