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Architects respond to Haiti call

Almost 200 architects have pledged to help UK-based architectural aid charity Article 25 rebuild Haiti following last week’s massive earthquake, which is reported to have killed up to 200,000 people

Thousands of buildings were destroyed by the quake, which struck 16km south-west of the capital Port-au-Prince on 12 February, leaving millions without food, water and shelter.

Over the next month, the job of providing emergency housing and tent cities (pictured) will remain in the hands of UN services, but architectural aid charities could be on the ground in Haiti and helping to rebuild within five weeks.

‘It would be unwise [for architects] to turn up now,’ said Robin Cross, education director of Article 25, which launched a call for support via the AJ within 12 hours of the quake.

‘At the moment the work in Haiti is clearly focused on emergency relief,’ added Cross, ‘but, when it comes to physical reconstruction, architects and Article 25 have an important role to play. We will be talking to all the people [who contacted us] about how they can help in the future.’

The charity built award-winning ‘seismically resistant’ housing (pictured) in Pakistan following the earthquake that took place there in 2005. However, Cross said that Haiti requires tailor-made solutions, sympathetic to local skills, materials and expectations.

Meanwhile, Cameron Sinclair, director of US-based charity Architecture for Humanity, told the New York Times: ‘In Haiti, most, if not all, of the buildings have major engineering flaws.’

Architecture for Humanity has published an online open-sourced framework for NGOs working in disaster relief in Haiti. An on-the-ground community resource centre, where local builders can get free advice on reconstruction, will be launched towards the end of February.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Architectes Sans Frontieres is planning a post-emergency action.
    Please see:
    ASF France: http://www.asffrance.org/Seisme-Haiti (in French)
    ASF UK: http://www.asf-uk.org
    both are members of Architecture Sans Frontieres International Network:
    http://www.asfint.org/

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