For the past few months, the architecture community has been trying to bring its contribution to the fight against the pandemic. The global spread of this crisis might have triggered a coordinated, and thus a more visible effort, but this isn’t the first time professionals step up in crises. Over the years, natural disasters and emergencies have determined several architects to get involved in disaster relief initiatives, as well as a wide range of humanitarian actions. In this article, we take a look at different occasions various architects and practices made a significant contribution to, helping affected communities overcome hardship.
Yasmeen Lari: The Latest Architecture and News
“Belonging,” the curatorial quintet of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, After Belonging, argue, “is no longer something bound to one’s own space of residence, or to the territory of a nation.” For this group of Spanish-born architects, academics and theorists—Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, Ignacio Galán, Carlos Minguez Carrasco, Alejandra Navarrese Llopis and Marina Otero Verzier—the very notion of our belongings and what it means to belong is becoming increasingly unstable.
After Belonging is the sixth incarnation of the Triennale and the first one in which a single curatorial thread has woven all of the festival’s activities together, including the international conference. The goal of the two primary exhibitions—On Residence and In Residence, including a series of Intervention Strategies—is to develop platforms with the aim of “rehearsing research strategies,” providing new ways for architects to engage with “contemporary changing realities."
The RIBA welcomes Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first woman architect, to discuss her work and the importance of vernacular architecture with BBC Correspondent Razia Iqbal. Over 45,000 disaster relief structures have been built under the direction and influence of Yasmeen Lari since 2010. With an emphasis on vernacular building techniques and materials she produces buildings that not only create a smaller carbon footprint, but also are simple enough to be built by the inhabitants in need.
A new exhibition, opening later this month in London, aims to examine the varying ways that cities and communities have been re-imagined in the aftermath of natural, or man-made, disasters. Including work by Yasmeen Lari, ELEMENTAL, OMA, Shigeru Ban, NLÉ, Toyo Ito, Metabolism (Kenzo Tange and Kurokawa Kisho) and Sir Christopher Wren, who redesigned London in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1666, the exhibition will primarily explore contemporary responses to earthquakes and tsunamis. Posing questions about the fragility of architecture, our relationship to nature, and the power of architects to instigate change, it will ask whether we are facing a paradigm shift in the way that cities and communities recover from destruction.
On August 18 Al Jazeera will launch “Rebel Architecture,” a new series featuring architects who use design as a form of resistance and activism. By designing for the majority rather than the elite, the architects in “Rebel Architecture” are tackling the world’s urban, environmental and social problems. Through six, half-hour documentaries the series will highlight architects working in Vietnam, Nigeria, Spain, Pakistan, the Occupied West Bank and Brazil.
“In contemporary architecture, people are always concerned with ‘what a beautiful building’; or ‘what a pretty project’ – architecture should be about something more,” said Spanish architect Santi Cirugeda, who will be featured in the series’ first episode. Cirugeda works in Seville reclaiming abandoned urban spaces for the public, despite the fact that self-building is illegal in Spain.