A Focus on Humanitarian Architecture

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In 2014, for the first time since the end of World War II, the number of refugees exceeds fifty million people in total. In such challenging conditions, in which the needs exceed the capacity of NGO and international organizations to provide help and support, what can architecture do? Maybe a lot, it depends on your vision of what architecture as a profession can deliver.

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«Cooperation in architecture has many faces. From the glamour of well known brands that create pro-bono projects, taking advantage of the mod cons of technology, using construction techniques in contexts where essential goods are often lacking, to the courageous and perhaps somewhat naive youth who depart for destinations ripped apart by civil war or ethnic persecution, with a dream of social equity. In some cases a small studio is established over the years, sharing the wealth of technical knowledge with the communities with which they interact. Between these two fairly rare extremes, there is a huge and varied landscape of different practices, from small and medium-sized organizations, to volunteers, to voluntourism».

In the "Focus" section an exclusive interview with Line Ramstad, founder of Gyaw Gyaw active in Thailand on the border with Burma, and a deepening on their works from 2011 to 2014.

With contributions from: Asante Architecture & Design + Lönnqvist Vanamo Architects, BC Architects + MAMOTH, Rudanko + Kankkunen, Made in Earth, Amadeo Bennetta & Dan LaRossa and Building Trust international Design Team, Komitu Architects, Spacematters architecture and urbanism, Hollmén-Reuter-Sandman Architects, Gyaw Gyaw, Line Ramstad, scatolAperta, Coporaque Workshop, Mohammed Rezwan

Boundaries is a quarterly magazine on sustainable, socially engaged and humanitarian architecture. Each issue is monographic, with full texts in English and Italian (facing), and all articles are accompanied by notes and a bibliography for further reading. ISSN 2239-0332.

Grade 
05/11/2015

an ambitious goal

Boundaries is a quarterly architecture magazine that presents the buildings and projects that other magazines aren't always willing to include in their pages. Sure, the occasional project in Africa makes its way into Architectural Record or Architect, but those projects (many designed by US firms for the continent) only scratch the surface on what architects are doing in places without the resources of North America or Europe. Luca Sampo's insatiable appetite for almost single-handedly presenting architecture that is socially responsible, but also beautiful, continues with these recent issues on "Architecture for Emergencies II" (the first installment on that theme is the second issue of Boundaries) and "Humanitarian Architecture." The former presents designs for refugee camps, disaster housing, mobile health clinics, schools, collective housing, and playgrounds. Like other Boundaries issues, the projects are balanced by research, positions, interviews, and books on the topic.

Given the consistent format of the magazine, the same can be said for the latter issue on humanitarian architecture, which could surely encompass architecture for emergencies, but focuses on projects run with NGOs and other organizations and often realized by volunteers. Most of the projects are schools, clinics and community centers, pointing to the importance of these institutions and the need to create places for the people who cannot build at this scale for themselves. Right before writing about these two issues, the newest Boundaries landed in my mailbox, a good sign that Sampo isn't letting up with his ambitious goal to present some of the most commendable architecture being produced today.

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A Focus on Humanitarian Architecture

A Focus on Humanitarian Architecture

In 2014, for the first time since the end of World War II, the number of refugees exceeds fifty million people in total. In such challenging conditions, in which the needs exceed the capacity of NGO and international organizations to provide help and support, what can architecture do? Maybe a lot, it depends on your vision of what architecture as a profession can deliver.

English edition.

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