VoCA saw Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity speak at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto last night.
He was able to demonstrate, in just over an hour, what Bruce Mau was trying to tell Toronto with his exhibition Massive Change in 2005.
DESIGN HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
Mr. Sinclair was raised in Peckham, South London. Growing up, he was uninspired by the surrounding architecture and later, with architecture as a practice.
He noticed that history was being eradicated in war torn areas like Kosovo by destroying all traces of a people, including their homes. So he rang the UN and made a presentation to them in 1990 with an idea for building affordable, innovative housing for displaced people.
Architecture for Humanity(AFH), a global non-profit, was born from a design competition of 300 entries from 30 countries. 5 prototypes were built, 100k was raised. It is funded mostly through online initiatives and is made up of young (19, 20-year- old) designers.
Examples: Hemp House made from locally grown hemp dried and cast like papier mache, a house made of wooden food palletts filled in with local materials and houses whose structure comes from infills of surrounding rubble..
Cameron Sinclair’s idea of architecture is not your idea of architecture.
It’s not grand buildings in Western cities. Rather, it is about creating beauty where there is none, it’s about improving communities and the planet, it’s about the importance of thinking.
It’s about providing design opportunities for those interested in innovation, creativity, possibilities. It’s about arming communities with expertise and technology. It’s about knowing that sustainability is based on finance.
It’s about community-based development – it allows people to care for their buildings because they were part of the design process. It’s about design that answers questions.
The first prototype of the tsunami safe(r) house was completed in September 2005 in balapitiya in sri lanka.
TDI – tsunami design initiative is a student initiative at harvard design school that was set up in response to the rebuilding efforts in the south asian coast after the tsunami in december 2004. Image: designbboom.com
It’s about the proposal for temporary health clinics in Africa made from fast-growing reeds that provide nourishment for the villagers so that they are well enough to take the medication provided them.
It’s about the fact that AFH rebuilt 38% of East Biloxi, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina with no government money. All homes were on an estimated $115,000 USD budget.
Click HERE for more info on the Katrina project.
Cameron Sinclair won the 2006 TED Prize – Please click HERE.