Through term reconstruction, they eventually become part of the

Through a
consultative process of spatial problem solving, can architects
contribute in a significant way to the complex post-disaster
challenge of rebuilding a town, a place and its community.

Recent
disasters and crisis situations have led built environment
professionals to collaborate with post-disaster communities as
facilitators, collaborators and negotiators of land, space and
shelter, rather than as ‘save the world’ modernists, as often
portrayed in the design media. The goal is social and physical
reconstruction, as a collaborative process involving a damaged
community and its local culture, environment and economy; not just
shelter ‘projects’ that ‘build’ houses but leave no economic
footprint or longer-term community infrastructure.

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An
investigation into the role of architects in the battle to improve
the living conditions for people all over the world. The theme aims
to focus on architecture which works within the constraints presented
by a lack of resources, and those designs which subvert the status
quo to produce architecture for the common good. – no matter how
small the success.

Statement
of scope of work
This
dissertation will examine how architects have approached recent
crisis situations collaborating
with post-disaster communities as facilitators, collaborators and
negotiators of land, space and shelter, rather than as ‘save the
world’ modernists, as often portrayed in the design media. The goal
is social and physical reconstruction, as a collaborative process
involving a damaged community and its local culture, environment and
economy; not just shelter ‘projects’ that ‘build’ houses but
leave no economic footprint or longer-term community infrastructure.

The
architects and building professionals involved in the case studies
examined all have a collective belief that through a consultative
process of spatial problem solving, the design profession can
contribute in a significant way to the complex post-disaster
challenge of rebuilding a city and its community.

Natural
disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions often occur in
vulnerable parts of the developing world with devastating results.
The initial response from first world countries is to quickly raise
funds and lead humanitarian operations to rescue people and their
communities. the aid provided is in the form of provision of shelter
blankets, clothing clean water and food. Temporary housing in the
form of tents and shelters provide a first response in terms of
re-housing the recently made homeless. The solutions are of often
using pre-engineered kit buildings such as timber or light guage
steel. They are manufactured in factories and flown to site to be
quickly and easily assembled. They are good short term solutions Off
the shelve solutions such as this can be a great short term solution
for communities affected by natural disasters but are not necessarily
a good fit for long term reconstruction, they eventually become part
of the problem.

There
is not and should not be a ‘one size fits all’ solution for all
communities post disaster. These communities are often very diverse
with very unique cultural, geographic and logistical challenges.

These need to be factored into any proposed solution. In
the longer term recovery phase a shift from dependency to being
independent requires a greater provision of more permanent shelter.
The continuing response from first world countries can be
overwhelming and result in inappropriate development derived from the
‘expertise and assumed experience of the designer and not a
response to the needs of the local people and communities.

Socially
responsible design, humanitarian design
Today 196
million people in 90 Countries are affected by severe annual flooding
the futility of individual effort

Who is
responsible for the security of our homes.What role does our built
environment play in our collective security?
We must
require shared expertise on the ground which includes architects and
planners
Why?
200 million
people have been affected by natural disaster in a decade. For every
death 3000 more face risk. 98% of victims live in the developing
world
It wasn’t
until the tsunami of 2004 that questions were asked of the role and
responsibility architects in the risk disasters risk management
Prior to this
time architects offered no coherent response, played no sustained
role in shaping policy
Who if not
architects and planners are in charge of rebuilding cities and
villages levelled by earthe quakes and cyclones and who ensures the
same level of destruction does not happen again. The answer appears
to be No one is in charge. A patch-work of goventments government
organisations and NGO’s. Few specialise in designing homes and
infrastructure to resist natural disasters before they strike and
the officers and people who run these organisations are often not
experienced in this type of work. There are many success stories.

Nepal

When
natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis devastate the
developing world, first-world countries are quick to raise funds and
lead humanitarian assistance – including construction.  But
how can we ensure recovery programmes are a success? The answer lies
in governance and knowledge-sharing.

In
the initial relief phase, first-world expertise and skills in search
and rescue, medical care, supply of clean water, and food and
temporary shelter are paramount to prevent unnecessary fatalities. 
However, in the longer-term recovery phase, the focus should shift
from supply of first-world capabilities to reducing the dependency of
the developing country on international aid.

Experience
in the reconstruction following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, shows
there were three recognisable trends that resulted in continued donor
dependency: lack of construction expertise within international
organisations driving the recovery; lack of community engagement; and
lack of professional oversight during construction.In Nepal,
many INGOs had been operating in the region for years without
significant construction expertise.

“International
organisations can often be guilty of not engaging with the local
community to establish their needs and understand the unique
opportunities and constraints that affect reconstruction”

When
the earthquake hit, their focus was on government-approved designs
regardless of their appropriateness. Not all realised that to
meaningfully ‘build back better’ they needed to develop or build
on construction skills within the community.

International
organisations can often be guilty of not engaging with the local
community to establish their needs and understand the unique
opportunities and constraints that affect reconstruction.

In
areas such as Nepal, it is understandable that the logistics, cost
and time to visit extremely remote villages in the Himalayas can
prevent this engagement. This can lead to crude assumptions being
made about end-user requirements, resulting in buildings that are not
fit for purpose and don’t provide the facilities the community
needs long term.

But
such failures are easily mitigated by tapping into the knowledge and
resources of the existing network of small and medium-sized NGOs and
local experts who have been operating on the ground for many years.

Top-down
recovery also often results in first-world construction methods.

However, regardless of the construction method proposed by the
funding or implementing NGO, the transition from a good-quality
design to a good-quality building is at the mercy of the workmanship
of the builders.

In
Nepal, all designs were signed off at government level but, in many
cases, what was then constructed on the ground did not match the
design. As the government do not have the resources and
infrastructure to monitor all construction projects, especially in
remote regions, it lies with the INGOs to have robust governance
processes to oversee construction.

Unfortunately,
in many cases, the INGO project managers are not suitably qualified
to report on construction and so poor workmanship and key details on
which seismic performance is reliant are missed.

It
is therefore critical that local construction experts are brought on
board to drive this process with guidance and training provided by
industry experts, either local or international. This
capacity-building approach is fundamental to success.

We
must understand the skills and capability in a country and work with
it to develop enduring knowledge.

When
the dust settles and reconstruction is complete, the INGOs and
experts should be able to leave knowing their legacy is not dictated
by the buildings, but by how well they imparted knowledge and skills.

Look at
specific Projects in Nepal – lots of notes plus interviews from
Glynn Utting and Cara Buchan (Architect and PM at WYG)

Glyn
Utting, Associate who’s been leading our work with Community
Action Nepal, delves into engaging local communities to meet
infrastructure needs to ‘build back better’. Read his latest
interview featured in Construction
News on
the importance of sharing skills and expertise.

When
natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis devastate the
developing world, first-world countries are quick to raise funds and
lead humanitarian assistance – including construction.  But
how can we ensure recovery programmes are a success? The answer lies
in governance and knowledge-sharing.

In
the initial relief phase, first-world expertise and skills in search
and rescue, medical care, supply of clean water, and food and
temporary shelter are paramount to prevent unnecessary fatalities. 
However, in the longer-term recovery phase, the focus should shift
from supply of first-world capabilities to reducing the dependency of
the developing country on international aid.

From
our experience in the reconstruction following the 2015 Nepal
earthquake, there were three recognisable trends that resulted in
continued donor dependency: lack of construction expertise within
international organisations driving the recovery; lack of community
engagement; and lack of professional oversight during
construction.In Nepal, many INGOs had been operating in the
region for years without significant construction expertise.

“International
organisations can often be guilty of not engaging with the local
community to establish their needs and understand the unique
opportunities and constraints that affect reconstruction”

When
the earthquake hit, their focus was on government-approved designs
regardless of their appropriateness. Not all realised that to
meaningfully ‘build back better’ they needed to develop or build
on construction skills within the community.

International
organisations can often be guilty of not engaging with the local
community to establish their needs and understand the unique
opportunities and constraints that affect reconstruction.

In
areas such as Nepal, it is understandable that the logistics, cost
and time to visit extremely remote villages in the Himalayas can
prevent this engagement. This can lead to crude assumptions being
made about end-user requirements, resulting in buildings that are not
fit for purpose and don’t provide the facilities the community
needs long term.

But
such failures are easily mitigated by tapping into the knowledge and
resources of the existing network of small and medium-sized NGOs and
local experts who have been operating on the ground for many years.

Top-down
recovery also often results in first-world construction methods.

However, regardless of the construction method proposed by the
funding or implementing NGO, the transition from a good-quality
design to a good-quality building is at the mercy of the workmanship
of the builders.

In
Nepal, all designs were signed off at government level but, in many
cases, what was then constructed on the ground did not match the
design. As the government do not have the resources and
infrastructure to monitor all construction projects, especially in
remote regions, it lies with the INGOs to have robust governance
processes to oversee construction.

Unfortunately,
in many cases, the INGO project managers are not suitably qualified
to report on construction and so poor workmanship and key details on
which seismic performance is reliant are missed.

It
is therefore critical that local construction experts are brought on
board to drive this process with guidance and training provided by
industry experts, either local or international. This
capacity-building approach is fundamental to success.

We
must understand the skills and capability in a country and work with
it to develop enduring knowledge.

When
the dust settles and reconstruction is complete, the INGOs and
experts should be able to leave knowing their legacy is not dictated
by the buildings, but by how well they imparted knowledge and skills.

John
McAslan + Partners rebuild an iconic symbol of Haitian community,
culture and ambition 

For well over a century, the Iron Market –
Marché de Fer – in Port-au-Prince has been a bold symbol of Haiti’s
independence and ambition, serving as the focus of commercial life
and community aspiration in the city. Fabricated in France by the
celebrated engineers Baudet Donon & Cie, the Iron Market was
originally conceived of as a railway station bound for Cairo, but
ended up for unknown reasons in Port-au-Prince in 1889 where it has
been a gathering place for millions of Haitians for 120 years. The
market has survived two disastrous setbacks in recent years: a
devastating fire in 2008 which destroyed the market’s northern
structure, and the cataclysmic earthquake that shattered
Port-au-Prince at the beginning of 2010, severely damaging the
central tower and part of the southern range.

It is estimated that up to 10% of Haiti’s
population engage in artisan activity for a living. The North Market,
which was dedicated to artisanal wares, was out of commission for
more than two years before the earthquake, taking a toll on the local
economy and households of Haitian artisans left without a proper
place to make a living.  The South Market, which was
subsequently damaged beyond occupation, was the venue where food
stuffs, domestic products, and a medley of goods were sold. With
their centre of commerce and livelihood in ruins artisans and
vendors, constructed makeshift stalls consisting of goods hung on the
perimeter fence of the destroyed market and laid on the surrounding
streets sheltered beneath umbrellas. It was a testament to how
crucial this place of trade is in the local community, and how the
Iron Market is a focus of commercial life in Port-au-Prince — even
in its demise trade struggled on beside its ghost.

Working with the Municipality of
Port-au-Prince, its advisors and private sponsors, John McAslan +
Partners led a multi-disciplinary team which has resurrected the Iron
Market within one year of the earthquake. The Market comprises two
35ft high covered spaces, each covering 25,000sqft, and linked by
bridges to a 75ft high central pavilion with clocks facing east and
west, and four towers carrying minaret-like structures. This original
structure is composed of decorative cast-iron columns and trusses
supporting a wrought-iron superstructure with raised, clerestorey
roof. Its open lower section is surmounted by an arched and louvred
facade; above it, shallow-pitched roofs are covered in corrugated
metal. In collaboration with the Institute de Sauvegarde du
Patrimoine National (ISPAN) – Haiti’s heritage guardians – and the
Iron Market’s Director, Jeune Augustin, John McAslan + Partners led a
design team that carried out detailed damage assessment, made the
remaining structural elements safe, assessed what could be salvaged,
and then set out a comprehensive repair and rebuilding strategy. Key
issues included structural dismantling, paint analysis and research
into original 19th century materials such as the stone flooring, the
roof tiles, and the clock – all of which originated in France. The
project involved roof and gutter replacements, façade repair, and
reinstatement of the market’s brick perimeter walls and floor slabs.

The structure of the Iron Market posed
unusual problems, notably in the repair of the central pavilion,
which had been both tipped and twisted off its stone plinth when the
(later added) upper level concrete deck linking the two market halls
collapsed. The upper part of the central pavilion consisting of four
octagonal corner towers made of quarter-inch thick riveted and bolted
iron plates, rested on badly twisted and corroded sections. They were
temporarily anchored with concrete “galoshes” to prevent
sudden collapse during restoration.

The JMP team designed new foundations for
the central pavilion; re-created the lower parts of the tower that
were beyond repair; and dismantled and repaired the damaged end of
the South Market, using iron sections from the collapsed and
burned-out North Market where possible. The North Market has been
rebuilt in its entirety, using contemporary steel sections. The scale
and rhythms of the new structure match the original – with its new
façades decorated by local artists.

It was not merely an architectural
restoration; it was one of the first signs that Haiti’s economic
communities could be rebuilt. The reconstruction of the Iron Market
brought both the return of everyday trading and investment in the
people of Haiti by way of employment within construction, metalwork,
and artisan activity for non-vendor members of the community. The
process of repair and reconstruction included conservation or repair
of key historic details, using original salvaged materials wherever
possible. Renewal involved hundreds of artisans, artists, and site
work force in tasks such as conservation of the ironwork, decorative
metalwork, stone dressing, and bricklaying. Workers learned a new
range of skills: conservation techniques, including the salvaging of
original brickwork and stone flooring, which will be applicable to
the rebuilding of Haiti.

Amongst Haitian artisans there is a
tradition of metalworking which has been done manually on 3mm sheet
metal reclaimed from oil drums in order to decorate the new North
Market, laser cutters were purchased and Arts et Artisan, the
contracted artists and metalworkers for the reconstruction, trained
local metalworkers to use the tools on 1/4 inch steel enabling them
to enhance their art form as well as translate it into a skill useful
on construction sites.

The reconstruction was carried out to
accepted international standards in a country without any recognised
building codes system. Health and safety was a priority onsite which
taught local workers how to reduce risk of injury in modest
conditions during future rebuilding.

Not just the artisans benefit from improved
trading conditions in the renewed Iron Market. JMP duly carried out a
survey of its past and potential uses in reconstructing and modifying
the market. Always designed to protect vendors and customers from the
heat of Haiti by the incorporation of louvred façades and brise
soleil canopies, JMP sought to augment the Iron Market’s comfort
levels in ways both sustainable and easily maintained by local
residents. For example, via fans and photovoltaics which avoid
dependence on the unreliable grid as well as expensive generators and
cooling systems. Elements such as poor drainage which proved
problematic in the past were designed for easy maintenance.

The Iron Market is now fully back in use
for over 700 vendors utilising market stalls designed by John McAslan
+ Partners, and commercial life thrives again.  Within its
interior, Haitian culture perseveres through the return of the Voodoo
Alley, arts, crafts, goods and food. Beyond the market, the
reconstruction has given local people new skills which can be their
means of being proactive in the reconstruction of their country and
supporting households. The resurrected Iron Market marks the
beginning of normal life and is a symbol of hope for Haiti’s future,
forming the cornerstone of a city centre on its return.

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