At Design Open Mic on January 11, 2012, Architecture for Humanity Program Manager Sandhya Naidu Janardhan gave us an update on Rebuilding Haiti two years after the devastating earthquake. Then Lisa Smyth, who started working with Architecture for Humanity in Haiti as a volunteer and recently earned a well-deserved design fellowship, spoke to us about “the other side of Haiti” - the challenges of rebuilding an impoverished community versus the natural beauty and culture of a Caribbean Island.
Sandhya outlined several of the projects Architecture for Humanity is involved with in the rebuilding of Haiti. Although there have been many smaller ones, some of the major successes in Haiti involve the completion of École la Dignite, the opening of Montruis, the completion of the Caravelle Clinic, and the Santo Community Development Plan.
Lisa gave us a sense of what life is like on the island and talked about the dichotomy that exists between rebuilding an impoverished community and the many splendors of the Caribbean island. The other side of Haiti is one filled with pristine tropical beaches yet there are locals whom can’t afford the three dollars it costs to use them. Lisa says the colorful island is full of contradictions such as these, yet for her, the passion of helping the people of Haiti and the relationships she has developed in the process are what keeps her going.
In the second half of this week’s Design Open Mic, Michael White-Ryan, President of The Language of Space, attempted to answer questions such as:
Does the design of the structures where we live and work influence who we are?
Does design add to my success in relationships?
And better yet, can it send my business broke?
Michael believes that the answer to all of the above questions is yes. He said, “Architectural Design has the ability to open our awareness and intelligence far greater than ever perceived. It is a significant influence on our relationships, our productivity, our spirit, function and inspirational values within the home/business. Our communities are dependent upon it.”
Michael went on to introduce how Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese system based on object movement and energetic relationships, can be used as a new design approach for the people of the World. He outlined how Feng Shui can change how people co-operate rather than compete, build relationships, help families unite, and even increase the health and education of the world. “Finally,” Michael said, “living in a design that supports you as an energetic being, you evolve in your mindset from the heart. Energy transformation in motion.”