ASF-INT Newsletter N9 October 2014
STRENGTHENING THE KNOWLEDGE SHARING OF ASF
Inari Virkkala, member of the board Ukumbi, Finland
A warm greeting from one of the new members in the board of ASF International! I felt very honoured and happy to have been selected to the board and look forward for the coming two years! Last year I had the chance of working for short periods of time with organisations Architecture for Humanity in San Franciso and Building Trust International in Cambodia. I wish to bring these organisational experiences to the use of ASF.
Lately, in the end of September I got to join the board meeting of ASF International in London. It was inspiring to join the discussions of ASF’s long term plans as well as seeing the excitement growing towards the coming GA next summer. It was also great to hear more of the Challenging Practice and the accomplishments of the program. For example, the course has bred a register of some hundreds of professionals who have completed the first modules of the course. Below is an image of Melissa Kinnear from ASF UK discussing the incorporation of the Challenging Practice course on the ASF website.
What I see as the most important role of ASF is to share knowledge and information between the different member organisations. Thus I wish to use my time in the board establishing more ways for us to connect and learn from each other. Both with existing ASF members, but also with the whole rapidly growing field of architects working towards similar, social goals.
Creating this newsletter has been a very collaborative effort. In July I sent a call for updates of the different members and received a good amount of updates, thank you for those! Lets’ continue the discussion online!
GREETINGS FROM THE BOARD! A NEW COLUMN WITH THE ASF BOARD UPDATES
Peter Newton, chair
The Board of ASF International has been prioritising our online identity and communications over the last year. This process started with our Facebook page, which was followed by the re-launch of our website, and most recently the launch of our LinkedIn identity.
We are continuing to expand our online and social media presence and activities. This is a priority as it willsupport our strategic aims as a network, and will form supporting evidence to our future funding opportunities. The tools we have at our disposal and the network is for the benefit of all member organisations, and in line with our aims as ASF-International, we are keen to share member organisations’ news and activities on the ASF-International platforms. If your organisation has news items please don’t hesitate to share it so we can promote it to our wider network, as there is excellent work and initiatives going on in many corners of the world, and we can help to disseminate and publicise it.
We haven’t yet taken to some of the latest online crazes, but perhaps next board meetings will see board members posting regular selfies and photobombing each other!
In other news, ASF-International board member Associate Professor Esther Charlesworth has launched her new book entitled ‘Humanitarian Architecture’, featuring in-depth interviews with 15 architects working in the post-disaster humanitarian sector looking at specific case studies.
We have all witnessed terrible events in our cities over the last several months, whether it is the targeting of civilian areas in the Israel-Gaza conflict, or the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and Libya, we need to continue as an international Civil Society movement to build trust and understanding, to support other NGO’s active in these challenging circumstances and when there are suitable conditions, to use our professional skills and resources to assist those in need.
THEME BAMBOO: SUMMARY OF THE GLOBAL BAMBOO SUMMIT, IN HCMC (SAIGON), APRIL 21-22, 2014
Ingemar Saevfors, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Vietnamese enterprise Grass Co with Hao Dang, in cooperation with international bamboo organizations, arranged a four day event for some 120 participants from all over the world. The leading theme was mainstreaming bamboo production, design and marketing, meaning that the worldwide demand is now reaching a level where large scale business is just around the corner. This wide scope was reflected by the participants: agroforestry producers, pulp and biomass industrialists, investors, researchers, government stakeholders, design practitioners, engineers and architects.
Bamboo projects including social housing solutions and multistory bamboo housing were presented and even a spectacular project of a bamboo skyscrapers, which is no longer merely an utopia, since the technology is already here. The “Saigon Declaration” with recommendations to promote the multi-sector use of bamboo was drafted in groups. All in all, a plethora of new ideas for projects and designs were the results of this worthwhile encounter.
THEME BAMBOO: KOUK KHLEANG YOUTH CENTER IN CAMBODIA
Elina Tenho, Ukumbi, Finland - www.komituarchitects.org
A youth center building was recently completed to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Komitu working group, consisting of six young architects, Noora Aaltonen, Sisko Hovila, Tuuli Kassi, Maiju Suomi, Elina Tenho and Inari Virkkala wanted to promote sustainable construction in the project. The aim was to create natural ventilation by working through air pressure and gravity. The roof and walls are painted light-coloured in order to reflect heat.
The architects have used natural low carbon materials, such as bamboo, compressed earth blocks and even bottles filled with plastic waste. At the moment the building is being used for giving English classes to children and youngsters, with plans being drawn for IT classes during the autumn. The organizations running the center, CVS and KKKHRDA have also planned a voluntary hospital run by medicine students, as well as accommodation for young girls moving in from rural areas into the city to study.
THEME BAMBOO: THE USE OF “ GUADUA ANGUSTIFOLIA” IN COLOMBIA
Henry Cardona, ASF Sweden
The use of Guadua Angustifolia in housing construction extends long before the arrival of the Spaniards, it was a gift from nature. Similarly it has been accessible, due to its low cost and abundance, to people with low incomes in areas of informal settlements. The over-exploitation and bad management of bamboo has resulted in depletion of this natural resource and even been considered an endangered species. In the second half of the last century, due to technical studies and research on preservation of the specie, carried out by evangelists of the bamboo as building material, have increased the importance of this “vegetable steel”. Certainly one could argue that the use of bamboo as a whole has contributed to a great manifestation of vernacular architecture in the region with subsequent development in construction practices, including the hollow bahareque.
Contemporary architectural manifestations reveal the use of bamboo in very exclusive buildings sponsored by the privileged classes. This without denying the ingenuity and excellent treatment that this natural element as a building material deserves.
Today bamboo has not only acquired a privileged place within the urban and social environment but also, its exploitation and access has been restricted. The reason can be not only an over-exploitation but also an excessive protectionism and bureaucratic administration, which eliminates the ability to promote this natural material, despite having proven to be an excellent renewable resource, able to make an economic contribution and bring many benefits to the whole society. Its use should strategically be expanded towards improving the habitat in informal settlements. Bamboo construction is also earthquake-resistant. Recent earthquakes in Colombia’s coffee zone proved this when many houses built in informal settlement sites survived, while modern houses collapsed.
Initiatives have been taken by members of ASF International, ASF Colombia among others, to develop workshops for the international community in an effort to share an experience of the traditional use of this excellent natural material in the construction of housing for a sustainable society.
MEMBER UPDATES: SEARCHING SOLUTIONS TO SYRIA’S CHALLENGES
Per Arnold Andersen - Arkitekter Uden Grænser / ASF-Denmark
The “Syria group” of ASF Denmark has in a year’s time explored and discussed the challenges faced in Syria today - and not least towards the future. Two parallel workshops took place - respectively at the school of architecture Copenhagen - and the school of architecture in Damascus in the spring 2014. The work is summarized in the report ‘Syria - pre / pro / post change’.
The workshops left a great impression of the need to continue and develop the project. It showed the willingness of individuals to participate in effective positive activities regardless of their specialties. In Damascus, participating students and architects demonstrated a great ability to use genuine and creative mechanisms to read the city during conflicts by critical eye. In Denmark, the workshop showed a huge interest in humanitarian architecture and the social role of buildings in the aftermath of a war.
Three further initiatives are now being considered; firstly, to work on a steady cooperation with architects and students of architecture in Damascus. The second is to work with specialists and institutions with respect to the technical parts of materials and construction with local materials and traditional construction applications. The third initiative is to find joint collaboration with ASF International and other relevant international organizations.
Read more in the report ‘Syria - pre / pro / post change’. http://architecturehumanrights.eu/onewebmedia/AUG_syriaworkshop_report.pdf
IN OUR CITY
Valeria Sciarretta, ASF Abruzzo Onlus
The aim of the project in Metropolitan Area of Pescara, Chieti, was to prevent discrimination for immigrant citizens in social housing. The project, realised between September 2012 – July 2013, was led by the Municipality of Pescara and realised with multiple partners: ASF Abruzzo Onlus; Municipality of CHIETI, Municipality of SANGIOVANNITEATINO, Municipality of FRANCAVILLA AL MARE, PROGETTI SOCIALI Social Enterprise, DONNE IMMIGRATE Association.
The project was financially supported by UE and Ministry of Interior. A video documentary of the project can be watched online https://vimeo.com/68842592.
MEMBER UPDATES: PROJECTS BY ARCHITECTURE & DEVELOPPEMENT
Ludovic Jonard, Architecture & Development - http://www.archidev.org
Shared Homes (Paris, France)
Started in january 2014, in partnership with ayyem zamen, the aim of this project is to set up housing units in order to meet old migrants’ needs to find accommodation and spend the rest of their lifes in the best conditions: surrounded and supported. Agreements were signed with paris habitat for four flats suitable for the project. The works have begun. The first shared flat will receive three inhabitants very soon.
Sustainable Social Habitat (Mbang, Cameroon)
The goal of the project, started in january 2014, is to re-house durably the employees of a sawmill located in the equatorial forest and to develop a local building sector. A new volunteer has been sent in the field to initiate the construction of the first house, using local materials as brick and wood.
Mental Health Center (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Recently begun, at the suggestion of the congregation of sisters hospitallers of the sacred heart of jesus, the project tends to offer a physical, psychological and social assistance to the persons received in this future center.
Movable Sets (Cartagena, Colombia)
Born of the meeting with the theatre company akisun, this uncommon project proposes the creation of a place to develop sociocultural exchanges and the construction of mobile theatres. During a workshop in paris in october, a prototype will be built and a show will take place there in order to fundraise.
School for the Himalayan culture (Siliguri, India)
The project begun in March 2012 with the organisation Sherig Phuntsok Lin Bön Society (SPLBS). It contributes to the preservation of Himalayan cultural values by the building of a school for 300 children of Tibetan origin, aged from 6 to 18 years old, coming from Bhutan, Nepal, China and North India.
MEMBER UPDATES: A SHELTER PROTOTYPE BUILT WITH SCARCE MATERIALS
Melissa Kinnear, Architecture Sans Frontières-UK
ASF-UK volunteers returned to the Eden Project in Cornwall to rebuild the bamboo shelter that was constructed as an exhibition piece within the humid Biome at an ASF-UK summer school held in 2011. The task set for the ‘builders’ in 2011 was to design and build an emergency shelter based on the needs of Vanuatu – an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. The shelter is big enough to sleep 3 – 4 people, including children. When materials are scarce, which is often the case after natural disasters, then inventive but locally available solutions are needed. The structure aims to make as little impact on the earth as possible and is designed to contribute toward the wellbeing and recovery of the ‘owners’, while also allowing space for possibly making a living.
For the new shelter, the team reused as many of the original materials as possible. It was constructed in a simple way using only bamboo, bicycle inner tubes, a few bits of rope and wire, and some palm leaves from the biome. The bamboo legs are placed on concrete blocks to keep them from rotting from rising damp and to maintain a stable base. Substantial cross bracing is evident under the floor to ensure the shelter can withstand multiple ‘hazards’.
MEMBER UPDATES: AN EXHIBITION OF NORDIC EXPERIENCES IN DEVELOPING ENVIRONMENTS
Inari Virkkala Ukumbi Finland and Pilvi Vanamo, ASF Sweden.
South of North is a Nordic collaboration project between twelve young architecture practices working in the non-profit sector in developing regions. The South of North travelling exhibition was presented in Helsinki as part of the Helsinki Design Week, 5 –14 September 2014.
The exhibition pavilion was constructed of recycled materials, reflecting the design principles of the South of North members in promoting cheap and locally available materials trough design and architecture. The walls and the roof are constructed of plastic potato boxes which will be returned to their original use after the exhibition. On September 19th South of North also organised a seminar as official part of the Architecture exhibition at the Venice Biennale.
MEMBER UPDATES: ASF-CONGO PRESENT AT THE 1ST INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING 2014 KINSHASA “SARIBAT 2014”
Richard Anthony Losalajome B., ASF-CONGO
Organized by the Société des Architectes du Congo SAC and Université Libre de Bruxelles ULB, The 1st International Exhibition of Architecture and Building "SARIBAT 2014" was held in Kinshasa in July.
Architectes Sans Frontières – Congo actively participated in various activities organized during the show. These included an exhibition stand which allowed ASF Congo to present different projects they have achieved since 2004, participation in training sessions led by prominent speakers from Brussels and elsewhere and interventions in seminars including that of President Richard on the drainage of rainwater in Kinshasa. The second edition of the exhibition will be held next year and we hope our participation will score advantage for good visibility.
MEMBER UPDATES: BREAKING GROUND IN TANZANIA: CONSTRUCTION OF THE KWIECO SHELTER STARTS
Hollmén Reuter Sandman Architects, Ukumbi NGO, Finland
Founders of the Finnish NGO Ukumbi, Hollmén Reuter Sandman Architects are about to start the construction work of Kwieco Shelter in Tanzania.
The project received three tenders for the construction of the Shelter House and a contractor was chosen for the project. Some funding for the project is still missing, but the architect team is confident in breaking the ground and getting the construction started.
Kilimanjaro Women Information Exchange and Consultancy Organization KWIECO works to disseminate information about women’s legal rights and to change popular attitudes. It also defends the rights of children and offers physical and mental shelter for the victims of domestic violence. The founding of a shelter for women has long been a key goal for KWIECO.
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