Conversations around resiliency today seem to imply that planners and designers might be capable of—might even be expected to—save every building and public space at risk. The sad truth is, however, that we cannot, and perhaps we should not. Climate change and its attendant sea level rise will radically redraw urban edges, forcing us to make difficult decisions. Even if we had the vast sums of money required to protect the precarious status quo, that might not be enough to stave off the inevitable.
Normally the efforts of the construction industry are aimed to design permanent and durable spaces. However, on some occasions creating temporary spaces can be of great help, not only when providing fast assembly infrastructure after the effects of a natural disaster, but also when activating residual or abandoned spaces in our cities. To exemplify the potential of these interventions, we present thirteen successful temporary public spaces.
Islam, other than describing a religious belief, is a word that identifies a unique type of architecture that dates back thousands of years. It has been formed by a civilization that transformed the qualities of this belief into visible and tangible material, building structures with a striking focus on details and experiences within enclosed spaces.
House Moroviví, designed by Marvel Architects, is a culturally-sensitive, readily-adaptable home that provides residents with physical and psychological comfort before, during and after natural disasters occur. Designed to maximize structural stability yet minimize energy and water usage, it is built with local components that promote ease of assembly, leave space for creative expansion and foster ownership by way of customization. These materials and their integration support local manufacturers and tradesmen, and the simplicity of their assembly encourages homeowners and neighbors to work together on the construction of their neighborhood.
Resilience has become increasingly common in our vocabulary when we talk about people, buildings, cities or even whole societies overcoming all kind of problems. In fact, Google searches related to resilience have continued to grow since 2004 in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Following natural disaster or conflict, architecture plays a critical role in not only reconstructing lost infrastructure but also responding to the need for comfort and safety for those affected. Successful post-disaster architecture must meet both the short-term need for immediate shelter, as well as long-term needs for reconstruction and stability. Eight years after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, those displaced continue to reside in temporary shelters without adequate access to plumbing and electricity, revealing the critical importance of addressing long-term needs after disaster and conflict.
In a country famous for its below sea level towns, combating flooding has been a key challenge for Dutch designers for centuries, resulting in the construction of numerous dikes, levees and seawalls across the country. But when tasked with creating a new pedestrian link across an urban river park in Nijmegen, NEXT Architects and H+N+S Landscape Architects decided to try a different approach: to celebrate the natural event by designing a stepping stone bridge that only becomes useful in high water conditions.
Jintai Village is located near Guangyuan, Sichuan Province — one of the places hardest hit by the May 12th Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008. The disaster left nearly 5 million people homeless and it is estimated that 80% of all buildings in the affected area were destroyed. Major reconstruction efforts have taken place. However, in July 2011, after heavy rainfall and landslides in the region around Jintai Village, many of newly rebuilt homes and some in process were once again destroyed. Despite this tragic event, locals were left without further donations or aid. With support from the local government and NGOs, this project demonstrates a socially and environmentally sustainable model for earthquake reconstruction while examining the many nuances of reconstructing a community.