Posted by Karl Johnson on Jun 10, 2013
Related program: Haiti Rebuilding Center
Preserving architecture as a profession will mean reversing some disturbing trends.
So says Eric Cesal who, when he's not directing the Resiliency and Reconstruction Studio at Architecture for Humanity, is tracking the value of design and architecture in its use around the world. Little surprise that the two (pre)occupations are related.
After looking at some recession statistics, Eric concluded that the world may view design as not valuable. He has evidence to the contrary, and delivered a talk recently at TEDx Piscataqua River (Portsmouth, NH) reviewing his work since he first addressed the value of architecture in Down Detour Road, through how design decisions have changed the lives of thousands in places like post-earthquake Haiti.
0:00 - The argument is presented
4:30 - Eric goes to Haiti - which in 2010 was the "Hardest Design Problem in the World." An architect or a designer can change the fortunes of thousands of disaster survivors merely through the choices that they make – the power of a single design decision." (As opposed to the design process or product.)
6:30 - "Earthquakes don't kill people, buildings do." A problem not limited to Haiti.
7:30 - How poverty is like a pizza.
9:15 - Don't send us your prefab houses. Even if they're donated. Building sustainable communities means building the local capacity to build - and grow - stronger.
11:30 - Analysis of prefab vs. humanitarian approaches to addressing poverty. Where are businesses and jobs created? How does an aid state affect development and dependency of an nation? Who "owns" the community's future?
12:50 - The humanitarian approach as employed by Architecture for Humanity and some of its successes since the earthquake.
Your next chance to see Eric on stage will be at the AIA National Convention, June 20-22 in Denver.