Architecture doing good
Humanitarian architecture is an emerging trend focusing on the built environment as a tool for social change. I recently came across two interesting articles about the intersection of architecture and social good.
Architects without Frontiers was founded by Esther Charlesworth in the aftermath of the 1990s Balkans conflict. Her new book, Design for Fragility, contains 13 case studies that bring philanthropy and architecture together, such as the Dien Ban Disability Centre in Vietnam, which caters for around 100 kids who live with profound intellectual and physical disabilities from the effects of Agent Orange used in the Vietnam war. It’s not all about pro bono work but the organisation receives funds from architectural and building firms and is now looking to government and other philanthropic supporters to help expand its work.
Also, Architecture Australia has announced the shortlist for its inaugural award for social impact which recognizes projects that make a difference through considering social cohesion, racial justice, inclusive housing, accessibility, equity, and social sustainability. The 39 shortlisted projects range from a women’s prison to Aboriginal medical services to the Budj Bim cultural landscape. That led me to the Budj Bim website, to find out more about this UNESCO World Heritage site. The design references elements of Gnditimara culture, such as domed huts and complex systems of aquaculture. I’m putting it on the bucket list.