Friday, September 8th, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Morocco’s High Atlas Mountain range. The epicenter was located just 72 kilometers southwest of Marrakech, the country’s fourth-largest city and a popular tourist destination. The quake is the strongest to hit the nation’s center in more than a century. Estimates put the number of victims at over 2,000 and more injured, but as several towns and villages remain inaccessible high in the mountains, the number is expected to increase. In addition to the human toll, several historical landmarks, including UNESCO World Heritage sites, have been affected, while eyewitnesses in the foothills of the mountains report that several remote towns have been completely destroyed, according to CNN.
Emergency Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News
Cities, Villages, and UNESCO Historical Landmarks in Morocco Are Severely Damaged by a Major Earthquake
DAGOpen OÜ has just won the architectural competition for a standard design of Ukrainian Family houses, with their design “Hata.” The competition invited 17 designs from Estonian and Ukrainian architects to design “a standard project for modern family-type small group homes to be built in Ukraine”. The architecture of Ukraine directly inspired the winning design and addressed the spatial decisions made to attend to the crisis.
Shigeru Ban Unveils Updated Prototype for Temporary Housing in Response to the Turkey-Syria Earthquake
Shigeru Ban Architects, in collaboration with Voluntary Architects’ Network, has developed an improved version of the temporary housing developed to help those affected by the recent Turkey-Syria earthquake. The new prototype represents an upgrade of the paper tube system deployed in northwestern Turkey after the 1999 earthquake. This new version takes into consideration matters of efficiency and the need to minimize construction time on site.
A major 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit central Turkey and north-west Syria this Monday, February 6, with a second 7.4 magnitude quake reported a few hours later in the same region, according to reports from the Guardian. Among the most affected areas is Gaziantep, located 150 miles from the border with Syria and 50 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter in Kahramanmaraş. Tremors were felt as far away as Lebanon, Greece, Israel, and the island of Cyprus. Authorities are still assessing the number of victims, as local and international rescue teams have been deployed to search for survivors. Early estimates report that over 1,700 buildings have collapsed or have been critically damaged, as confirmed by Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay.
Hard times bring people together. In recent years we have seen how collective work can be a driving force to help those affected by natural or man-made disasters. After a disaster or displacement, a safe physical environment is often essential. Therefore, the need for coordination becomes a key factor in assisting people in times of need.
Architects, as "Shelter Specialists", play an important role in creating safe and adequate environments, whether it is individual housing, public buildings, schools, or emergency tent camps. But as architect Diébédo Francis Kéré says, "When you have nothing and you want to convince your community to believe in an idea, it may happen that everybody starts working with you, but you need to keep fighting to convince them."
The war in Ukraine continues, and the number of refugees has risen to 5million, according to the U.N. Renowned for his involvement in humanitarian aid, Shigeru Ban and the Voluntary Architects' Network have been deploying a paper partition system (PPS) for emergency shelters in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, designed to provide some privacy to the Ukrainian refugees. Since early March, PPS has been installed in Poland, Slovakia, France, and Ukraine by Shigeru Ban Architects and VAN, collaborating with local architects and volunteer students.
The concepts of autonomy, collaboration, and participation have gained relevance in architecture and urbanism through collaborative actions involving the community, architects, urban planners, and designers. As the number of climate disasters has significantly increased - doubling in the last 40 years according to a report released in 2016 by CRED (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters) - in addition to conflicts and other tragedies, the demand for the rebuilding of houses and infrastructure in affected areas has grown simultaneously. This has called for a major collaborative effort in architectural and urban reconstruction.
Emergencies include a variety of contemporary scenarios ranging from natural disasters to extreme poverty or isolation due to social and political conflicts. In all cases, the disruption of normality and the requirement of basic needs for maintaining a decent quality of life become the basis for finding quick and efficient alternatives to respond to this type of urgency.
New York City is the pinnacle hybrid between the vibrant and granular neighborhoods that Jane Jacobs once envisioned and the sweeping urban innovations of Robert Moses. However, its diverse population has experienced hardship over the last twenty years, forcing the city into a recursive wave of self-reflection to reevaluate the urban strategies, design trends, and global transportation methods that it had grown so accustomed to. After the September 11th and Hurricane Sandy tragedies, the delicate balance between promoting a sense of individual culture and the strength in unity that New Yorkers are so often known for served as the lifeblood for revitalization. New York City has consistently handled adversity, by always rethinking, redesigning, and rebuilding this city for a better future.
2014 Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban may be as well known for his innovative use of materials as for his compassionate approach to design. For a little over three decades, Ban, the founder of the Voluntary Architects Network, has applied his extensive knowledge of recyclable materials, particularly paper and cardboard, to constructing high-quality, low-cost shelters for victims of disaster across the world —from Rwanda to Haiti, to Turkey, Japan, and more. We've rounded up 10 projects of his humanitarian work, explained by Shigeru Ban Architects themselves.