Architecture can be a tool for social change, and the belief in this statement is what motivates the work of many architectural NGOs who strive to address the lack of adequate shelter, generate social and economic change and build resilience in communities. These NGOs operate in two major areas, disaster relief and community development, with many organisations pursuing both types of actions. This article rounds-up several architecture-related foundations that act in emergencies, covering their expertise, past involvement in humanitarian crises, as well as the means to join them in their efforts.
Disaster Relief Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News
As hospitals around the world are reaching their capacity, the architecture and design community is developing new alternatives to fight COVID-19. In order to build 60 Emergency Quarantine Facilities (EQF), WTA was inspired by their pavilion developed last year, part of the Anthology Festival. A viable quarantine structure, the Boysen Pavilion “embodied speed, scalability and simplicity in its structure”.
SheltAir, a pavilion developed and designed by Gregory Quinn as part of his doctoral thesis at the Berlin University of the Arts is, as its name suggests, a shelter constructed with the help of air: a meticulously devised system comprising an elastic gridshell and pneumatic falsework in the form of air-filled cushions.
Ten years ago when Colombian Fernando Llanos tried to build his own house in Cundinamarca, he realized that moving the materials from Bogota was going to be very difficult. After mulling it over, he decided to build his house out of plastic, and after a series of trials and errors, he ended up meeting architect Óscar Méndez, who developed his thesis on the same subject, and together they founded the company Conceptos Plásticos (Plastic Concepts) in 2011.
The innovative local company managed to patent its system of bricks and pillars made of recycled plastic, which is then put together like Lego pieces in a construction system that lets you build houses up to two stories high in five days.